MSMS Members Effecting Change on Human Trafficking

News & Media

MSMS Members Effecting Change on Human Trafficking

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Around the country, and right here in Michigan, men, women and children are forced into prostitution, domestic servitude and other labor for little or no pay. Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery and it is the second-largest and fastest-growing criminal industry in the world. Michigan's Attorney General Bill Schuette is leading the fight against this horrific crime by prosecuting the state's first-ever criminal cases under state law banning human trafficking in Michigan.

In 2013, the Attorney General collaborated with the Legislature to form the first Michigan Human Trafficking Commission. After more than six months of review, the Commission developed wide-ranging recommendations for policymakers. As a result of the 2013 Commission's recommendations, a comprehensive human trafficking legislative package was introduced and passed in 2014. The standing Human Trafficking Commission was established as a result of the 2013 recommendations.

Simultaneously, the Wayne County Medical Society of Southeast Michigan (WCMSSM) and its Foundation identified human trafficking as a severe problem for Southeast Michigan. With its mission of "protecting and improving the wellbeing of the people of Southeast Michigan," WCMSSM has launched a campaign to combat human trafficking. Through various partnerships, WCCMS, the Oakland County Medical Society (OCMS) and the Macomb County Medical Society (MCMS) developed a physician education program as to key identifiers of victims who visit emergency rooms, physician offices and clinics as a result of the violence associated with this crime. A key component of this program is a video in which experts and society members outlined the causes and features of human trafficking as well as actions health care providers can take on behalf of all victims.

"Cases are occurring every day in the U.S., affecting girls and boys in all 50 states, often starting on the Internet," said Doctor Smitherman, who is assistant dean of Community and Urban Health and associate professor of Internal Medicine for the Wayne State University School of Medicine. "We need a multidisciplinary and collaborate approach that builds upon the capabilities of social services, healthcare, IT and law enforcement to stop this scourge."

In March, Governor Snyder recognized the efforts of WCMSSM, and appointed Herbert Smitherman, MD, president of WCMSSM, to the Michigan Human Trafficking Commission. "Being appointed to the first Human Trafficking Commission in the state's history is an honor and provides the opportunity for a clinical perspective toward solving this grave and growing problem," said Doctor Smitherman.

Yesterday, the Commission held its second meeting where Doctor Smitherman premiered the education videos developed by WCMSSM, OCMS and MCMS.

Learn more about the Michigan Human Trafficking Commission >>
Watch the physician education video on human trafficking >>
Watch the public service announcement on human trafficking >>