Sex trafficking is an issue that nurses in the United States need to be aware of in order to provide the best care to their clients. It was estimated in 2005 by the U.S. Department of Justice that there were between 100,000 and 150,000 people living and working as sex slaves in the United States, and these numbers are only rising. It is imperative that nurses know how to recognize signs of trafficking and know how to intervene in order to protect the health and safety of the clients that they work with.
In order for nurses to confidently and successfully intervene when they find themselves in situations where trafficking is suspected, they must be educated. I propose that utilizing the Sex Trafficking and the Nursing Role: An Online Educational Module for Nurses could be very beneficial in this endeavor. Accessible at www.nursingstrafficking.web.unc.edu, the module was developed to be learner-focused to meet each individual’s stylistic learning needs, including: a lecture on the topic with resources provided to reflect evidence based practice guidelines, assessment of potential victims, and interventions related to sex trafficking in various formats; two case studies, both of which are adaptable for use as simulations, and pre- and post-tests reflecting module content.
The intended use for the Sex Trafficking and the Nursing Role: An Online Educational Module for Nurses is for incorporation into the registered nurse curriculum, particularly as an addition to the public health nursing course. Faculty would follow-up in a variety of ways, which they can tailor to the needs of their students. Educators could use the module quizzes as an assessment of module understanding for a grade in their courses. The case-studies could be distributed as an essay discussion assignment or could be used to assess understanding as part of a simulation or class discussion; participation and understanding may be evaluated as strictly as the educator sees fit, no rubric is included in the module for case-study grading purposes. Furthermore, the module could be an efficacious teaching tool used as continuing education units for graduate students, nurses in practice, as well as other healthcare providers.
The content included in the lecture portion of the module is intended to define sex trafficking and to make learners aware that sex trafficking is a problem in the United States. A description of different modes of sex trafficking, at-risk populations, the process of victimization, and barriers to escape are included in the module. The module also includes a discussion on victimization, nursing assessment and interventions, and the role of the law in sex trafficking.