Human trafficking is a global crisis. Dignity Health is innovating how it's fought.
True
Dignity Health

Human trafficking is one of the most devastating human rights crises the world faces today.

All pictures courtesy of Dignity Health.

According to the International Labour Organization, more than 40 million people are victims of human trafficking around the world. And more than three quarters of these victims are women and children who are forced into labor in many different industries — including sex work.


Tragically, this crisis may only be getting worse. Human trafficking is a lucrative business, bringing in more than $150 billion in profits annually. While organizations worldwide are working to end this pandemic, they'll only be successful with the help of people who know what human trafficking is and what to do if they suspect someone's fallen victim to it.

Unfortunately, many of us don't know how to spot the signs of human trafficking. And yes, this includes doctors.

Though victims of human trafficking often require medical attention and seek aid at their local hospital, health professionals aren't always aware that their patients may be dealing with trauma beyond their physical injuries.

As a result, many victims are discharged without being offered the support and services they so desperately need.

Dignity Health is at the forefront of changing this narrative. The medical services company is employing survivors of human trafficking to advocate for those that need help.

"Survivors now know that the hospital is a safe place," says Christine Cesa, a survivor advocate with the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking.

Cesa works at Dignity Health's California Medical Center twice a week educating staff members and providing support to fellow survivors.

As a survivor of human trafficking herself, Cesa is uniquely qualified to support people who are victims of human trafficking. And her connection with patients is the first step towards healing.

“The patients respond to me because I come at them with a lot of empathy, care and concern," she says.

"Dignity Health values survivors," says Holly Smith Gibb, the program director of Dignity Health's Human Trafficking Response, who's also a survivor.

“If there was a survivor who was part of the law enforcement and healthcare team that was trying to connect with me it would have made all the difference."

But employing survivors is just one part of Dignity Health's commitment to stopping human trafficking.

Since 2014, the company has worked tirelessly to ensure that no victim of trafficking is overlooked at their facilities.

From providing more training to medical center staff to adding procedures that make it easier for all medical staff to identify and report human trafficking to employing survivors like Cesa, Dignity Health is fighting human trafficking on an individual, community, and systemic level.

It's a model that's working well, so the company hopes that it will soon be put to use in hospitals throughout the nation.

Advocates like Cesa are transforming the way that medical professionals view and respond to human trafficking.

At the medical center where Cesca is employed, the staff is more attuned to what their patients are going through, more eager to help them escape dangerous situations and empower them to embark on safe, happy lives.

And being an advocate has given Cesa a greater sense of purpose, because she can see the impact she's having on patients. She's grateful to be able to use her difficult experiences to help others every day.

“Even though there are hard, emotional days...I go home and feel like, I don't ever want to stop doing this. 'Cause we're helping people," she says.

Learn more about Cesa's work and Dignity Health's human trafficking initiatives in the video below.

True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less

Biases, stereotypes, prejudices—these byproducts of the human brain's natural tendency to generalize and categorize have been a root cause of most of humanity's problems for, well, pretty much ever. None of us is immune to those tendencies, and since they can easily slip in unnoticed, we all have to be aware of where, when, and how they impact our own beliefs and actions.

It also helps when someone upends a stereotype by saying or doing something unexpected.

Fair or not, certain parts of the U.S. are associated with certain cultural assumptions, perhaps none more pinholed than the rural south. When we hear Appalachia, a certain stereotype probably pops up in our minds—probably white, probably not well educated, probably racist. Even if there is some basis to a stereotype, we must always remember that human beings can never be painted with such broad strokes.

Enter Tyler Childers, a rising country music star whose old-school country fiddling has endeared him to a broad audience, but his new album may have a different kind of reach. "Long Violent History" was released Friday, along with a video message to his white rural fans explaining the culminating track by the same name. Watch it here:

Keep Reading Show less
True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn’t have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women’s rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn’t something we’d choose—and we’d hope others wouldn’t choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

Keep Reading Show less
@frajds / Twitter

Father Alek Schrenk is known as one of the "9 Priests You Need to Follow on Twitter." He proved his social media skills Sunday night after finding a creepy note on a parked car and weaving a lurid Twitter tale that kept his followers on the edge of their pews.

Father Schrenk was making his nightly walk of the church grounds to make sure everything was fine before retiring to the rectory, when he found a car parked by itself in front of the school.

Curious, he looked inside the car and saw a note that made his "blood run cold" attached to the steering wheel. "Look in trunk!" the note read. What made it extra creepy was that the two Os in "look" had smiley faces.

Keep Reading Show less