AJN, American Journal of Nursing:
"The Role of the Nurse in Combating Human Trafficking" (February) by Donna Sabella was excellent—it defines the problem and educates professionals in the detection of trafficking victims.
As a former RN and social worker, as well as the chairman of the Georgia state senate's Health and Human Services Committee, I wrote the law (Senate Bill 69) in 2009 requiring mandatory reporting of sexual abuse practices witnessed by professionals, such as nurses, teachers, counselors, physicians, or anyone coming in contact with a child.
During my years as an ED nurse, I remember coming in contact with potential victims and not knowing what to do—a situation that's described in Dr. Sabella's article. Thank you for educating professional nurses on a topic that, unfortunately, grows in epidemic proportions. We must continue to educate the medical community and take necessary actions to protect our youth from such horrific, life-changing experiences.
Nurses have the opportunity to help those who've been forced into human trafficking and sexual abuse. To help eradicate this problem, I ask that all nurses continue to be aware of possible situations that involve minors and the illegal sex trade. I'm encouraged by the work AJN is doing to shed light on this issue, and I pledge to continue to promote legislation that will finally put an end to this heartbreaking crisis that's devastating the youth of our nation.
Renee S. Unterman
State Senate District 45