National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month - January 2022

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National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

By Jenn Bodine, DNP, FNP-BC, NPD-BC, CEN

This month we observe National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. In 2010, this month was dedicated to raising awareness about human trafficking, a form of modern slavery (U.S. Department of Health, 2021). The term human trafficking encompasses both sex trafficking and forced labor. It is estimated that an average of 2.4 million people of all ages are victims of human trafficking, with the pandemic affording traffickers more of an opportunity to exploit others (U.S. Department of Health, 2021). There is a call to action that "all Americans…recognize the vital role we can play in ending all forms of slavery" (U.S. Department of Health, 2021, para. 9).

This is especially pertinent to nursing professional development (NPD), as protecting the public is our key output (Harper & Maloney, 2016). NPD implications include educating healthcare professionals about the signs of human trafficking and how to report this crime. Human trafficking indicators, questions to ask, and where to get help can be found on the U.S. Department of State's website. Read more about how a human trafficking education program can help improve knowledge and self-efficacy in frontline staff's ability to recognize victims of human trafficking in Sangha and Birkholz's (2021) article, Nurses' Ability to Identify Human Trafficking Victims, in the Journal for Nurses in Professional Development


Harper, M. G., & Maloney, P. (Eds.). (2016). Nursing professional development: Scope & Standards of Practice (3rd ed).  Association for Nursing Professional Development.

Sangha, M. R., & Birkholz, L. (2021). Nurses' ability to identify human trafficking victims. Journal for Nurses in Professional Development. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1097/NND.0000000000000798

U.S. Department of State. (2021, January 20). National slavery and human trafficking prevention month.

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