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FirstMed Health and Wellness Center to launch program to combat human trafficking

Posted at 12:33 PM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 17:33:52-04

FirstMed Health and Wellness Center (FirstMed) announced it has officially entered into a partnership with the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).

The partnership provides for the creation of a training program led by local law enforcement for bus drivers and transit ambassadors to better identify the signs of human trafficking, designate safe places for victims to receive assistance, and help victims reach a safe haven where they can receive services including emergency housing, medical and behavioral healthcare support, and victim advocacy.

Beginning in September the facility will provide comprehensive, trauma-informed, wrap-around services to help heal and stabilize victims, reducing the likelihood of repeat victimization under the program funded by a federal grant, the RTC and FirstMed.

When a victim of human trafficking requests a “safe space” in a transit vehicle or facility, protocols will be followed to get them to FirstMed for services. Depending on the victim’s status, law enforcement may be contacted initially for de-escalation so the victim, general public and/or RTC team member are made safe.

With the victim’s consent, they will be sent to FirstMed, either directly or via law enforcement. A physical and psychological evaluation will occur, including a drug panel so the medical team knows if there are compounding issues such as substance abuse.

The RTC, UNLV and FirstMed will track the program’s progress and provide lessons learned reports for other transit agencies and community stakeholders seeking to advance similar initiatives.