(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel will be trained to spot signs of human trafficking at a March 29 webinar, the Governor’s Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force announced today.
Ohio Division of Emergency Medical Services (Ohio EMS) Executive Director Robert Wagoner, State Fire Marshal Kevin Reardon, and State Anti-Human Trafficking Coordinator Maria Busch are partnering to host a state human trafficking awareness webinar for fire and EMS personnel.
Throughout the webinar, the nature and prevalence of sex and labor trafficking in Ohio will be discussed as well as how to identify trafficking and how fire and EMS personnel can respond.
“Providing out-of-hospital medical care to people in need sometimes places EMS providers in unique positions to identify and interact with victims of human trafficking,” said Ohio EMS Executive Director Wagoner. “Being aware of the signs of human trafficking during these brief emergency encounters is important as the state works to put a stop to this terrible crime.”
Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to exploit another person through commercial sex or involuntary labor. Although legislation has been created to combat trafficking, estimating the prevalence of these crimes is a complex challenge for researchers across public health, criminal justice, and social service contexts.
“As first responders, fire fighters are trained to help during the most difficult moments in someone’s life and people trust them,” said State Fire Marshal Reardon. “Because of that, fire fighters may be able to help spot varying types of abuse and human trafficking.”
“By training Ohio’s fire and EMS professionals, we are equipping frontline responders with the knowledge and tools to identify and respond to human trafficking,” said State Anti-Human Trafficking Coordinator Busch.
The Fire & EMS Human Trafficking Awareness Webinar will begin at 10 a.m. March 29. Fire and EMS personnel can Register Here.