‘Collaborative to End Human Trafficking’ presents resources on human and labor trafficking at Kent State Geauga

Annalexis Davis, Reporter

The Diversity Committee at Kent State Geauga hosted an event with Christina Lester representing the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking Wednesday, with a discussion on what human and labor trafficking is and how nurses can recognize trafficking in patients.

Christina Lester is a nurse practitioner and currently working on getting her Doctor of Nursing Practice at Ursuline College. She also works for the University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center.

“I recently finished my master’s as a student when the collaborative came to my classroom,” Lester said. “After being a nurse for twenty years, I was in awe at how much I did not know about human trafficking. Once I finished the program, I made it a point that I would reach out to the collaborative to become a volunteer, so now I am a Community Ambassador, and I do more of health care focused education.”

Lester discussed that many survivors have frequent hospital checkups.

“Eighty-eight percent of trafficking victims reported contact with health care professionals during the time of their victimization,” Lester said.

She said there are signs when a person is being trafficked, such as on paperwork, they will have the same address as where they work, because their perpetrator won’t leave them or they will speak for the victim. She gave advice to medical professionals on how to identify survivors.

“You are not going to access trust on their first visit, most likely,” said Lester. “Once they feel like they can return because the survivor remembered the kind nurse with the blue shirt, they feel they can talk to you. It is an ongoing relationship, and it needs to be consistent.”

Lester also talked about the United States’ federal trafficking laws.

“Sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision and obtaining, patronizing or soliciting a person for a commercial sex act in which the sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion,” she said.

She distinguished this from labor trafficking.

“Labor trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through use of force, fraud or coercion for subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage debt, bondage or slavery,” said Lester.

The Collaborative to End Human Trafficking is an organization that provides individuals with knowledge, tools and resources. Their vision is a world without human trafficking. The company helps with education and awareness, technical assistance, connecting services and a survivor advisory council.

Annalexis Davis is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].