Putting a stop to human trafficking

Published: Updated:

A Southwest Florida woman is setting a new national standard when it comes to helping victims of sex trafficking.

88 percent of human trafficking victims see a doctor while they are held captive, but they often go unnoticed.

“If not nursing than who? If not now, then when?” said Tammy Toney-Butler, an anti-human trafficking consultant.

Former nurse, sex abuse survivor and now advocate, Butler is changing how the health care world handles missed red flags in trafficking cases.

“It’s not just a far away crime,” Butler said.

Butler works with victims through the non-profit Path2Freedom.

Path2Freedom says they are passionately committed to serving the needs of child survivors through their individual journeys from Rescue to Restoration.

Recently, she submitted a new training plan for nurses on how to spot trafficking when people come in, like watching interactions between the victim, and what appears to be a “friend”.

“If the person is being controlled, if there’s someone doing all the speaking for them, if they are kind of up in your face or overly charming,” Butler said.

Her plan also teaches nurses to do a forensic assessment and how to get victims to open up.

After speaking in D.C. alongside Homeland Security, The American Nursing Association, a national organization immediately adopted Butler’s recommendations.

The New York chapter is already moving forward.

“We are arming our profession with this information and starting it in the undergraduate program…that’s really going to be monumental,” said Francine Bono-Neri, pediatric nurse practitioner and director at large for the American Nursing Association in New York.

The end goal is getting the people on the front lines prepared to fight a crime that hits every city.

For more information, visit the Path2Freedom website here.


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