Unique Hurley Medical Center program helps spot human trafficking cases

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FLINT (WJRT) (1/22/2020) - "Normally, a human trafficking victim is not going to say 'I'm a victim of human trafficking;' you know, it's traumatizing and it can - they can feel ashamed and embarrassed," Trisha Bryan said.

Since Hurley Medical Center's Trauma Recover Center was created in 2018, Bryan has been the TRC Coordinator.

She explained their hospital staff is able to help victims of human trafficking because they have a protocol in place. It helps them spot red flags, educating resident physicians, social workers and now every nurse.

"So hopefully within a couple of months, the entire hospital will be trained in some way, shape or form about human trafficking," she said.

Bryan added once they confirm someone is a victim, they offer help immediately through the TRC.
It was created in October 2018, thanks to a grant. From that date to September 2019, the TRC helped 968 people in Genesee County. Only a portion of those are victims of human trafficking.

"We definitely have a couple of handfuls a year, that's for sure. It's growing, we're seeing more and more cases," Bryan said. "I think we may be seeing our numbers growing because we're being educated."

Bryan and her coworkers developed a program where they hold the hand of victims from crisis through to recovery.

The support and resources are free, including legal support, housing help, insurance guidance, therapy, etc.

"It's a wrap-around program. You know, Hurley does a really good job at the medical part, you know, putting our victims medically back together. But, we're missing patients, you know; and, how a trauma affects them later," Bryan said.

The grant money is specific to people who live in Genesee County; but Bryan said they won't turn anyone away. They'll, instead, help them find support in the city where they live.

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