SCARSDALE, N.Y. -- Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-88th District) announced that legislation she authored to help physicians and health care workers better identify human trafficking victims, was passed by the New York State Assembly on Tuesday as part of the legislative body’s acknowledgment of National Crime Victims' Rights Week from April 10 to 16.
Paulin’s bill would require every general hospital, public health center, diagnostic center, treatment center or outpatient department to provide for the identification, assessment, and appropriate treatment or referral of persons suspected of being human trafficking victims as well as training for personnel in dealing with human trafficking victims.
“Trafficking victims may at some point seek treatment from a health care facility, such as a hospital, public health center, outpatient department or treatment center,” Paulin said. “We need to ensure that the health professionals who are most likely to come into contact with a potential trafficking victim are trained to recognize the signs of human trafficking so that they know what to do to provide the appropriate care and referral to help the victim escape her or his life of violence and enslavement.”
Signs of trafficking include bruises, tattoos, branding such as bar codes, dollar signs and names of male captors, scars, burns and orthopedic trauma as well as psychological signs such as extreme anxiety, PTSD symptoms, anger and belligerency.
"The health care facility where the victim is permitted by her trafficker to seek medical services may be our best and only chance to identify a trafficking victim and free her from the vicious cycle of pain, suffering and degradation,” Paulin said.
Other legislation passed on Tuesday, April 12, by the Assembly was designed to support victims of rape and sexual assault, ease the financial burden on victims and their families, protect the rights of victims and their families when the perpetrator is being considered for parole, and safeguard individuals who report crimes, including acts of domestic violence.