Illinois Law Requires E.R. And Urgent Care to Provide Notice of Help to Victims of Sex Trafficking

November 25, 2015
SmithAmundsen Health Care Alert

Effective January 1, 2016, emergency rooms within general acute care hospitals and urgent care centers, along with many transportation industry centers, restaurant establishments serving alcohol, adult entertainment facilities, and farm labor contractors must post signs in a conspicuous place for employees and the public stating:

If you or someone you know is being forced to engage in any activity and cannot leave, whether it is commercial sex, housework, farmer, construction, factory, retail, restaurant work, or any other activity call the national human trafficking resource center at 1-888-373-7888 to access help and services.

Victims of slavery and human trafficking are protected under United States and Illinois law.

The hotline is:

  • Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Toll-free
  • Operated by nonprofit nongovernmental organizations.
  • Accessible in more than 160 languages.
  • Able to provide help, referral to services, training, and general information.

Health care providers, especially in urgent care, obstetrics, and gynecology, can be in a position to recognize and appropriately respond to severe forms of human trafficking. Currently Congress is considering the Trafficking Awareness Training For Health Care Act of 2015 to provide government funding to a medical and nursing school to apply for a grant to develop best practices for health care providers to recognize and respond to human trafficking. Sponsors of the Congressional Bill, including U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Sulz, reports there are 100,000 to 300,000 youth at risk between the ages of 12 to 14. Once a pregnancy occurs the victim has a life expectancy of 7 years.

In Illinois, the Department of Health and Human Services will have a model notice to be downloaded to post the notice to prevent human trafficking. A copy of the Illinois law can be found here. A copy of the status of the Congressional Bill can be found here. A video by Congresswoman Wasserman Sulz can be found here.