Massachusetts General Hospital has been awarded a $600,000 government partnership grant to establish the first clinic in the state that will offer specialized care to human trafficking survivors.
In 2013, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline received 385 calls from Massachusetts. Based on reports received, Massachusetts ranks 17th in the nation in trafficking, which includes sex slavery and labor exploitation, according to the advocacy group the Polaris Project.
The grant, awarded by the Partnership for Freedom, will help create the Massachusetts General Hospital Freedom Clinic, described by the collaborative group as a “comprehensive medical, mental health, and dental clinic for trafficking survivors.”
The clinic, which will begin providing care to patients by the end of this year, will offer a “survivor-centered approach,” according to Dr. Wendy Macias, medical director of the human trafficking initiative in division of global and human rights at Mass General Hospital.
“We want to let them have a say in the type of care they need in order to heal,” said Macias.
The data collected by the clinic will be shared with other care providers to enhance the standard of care for trafficking survivors in other parts of the nation and help create screening tools to identify victims, she said.
“Studies have shown that the degree of psychological trauma is paramount to that of torture victims,” said Macias. “We want to get this [program] going as soon as possible.”