Prince George’s Co. hospital receives $800K to help trafficking victims

Maryland’s second busiest trauma center is receiving federal funding to help identify and aid victims of sex and labor trafficking.

The University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center hospital (UM Capital) in Prince George’s County will get nearly $800,000 from the Department of Justice to go toward screening, identifying and supporting victims in medical settings.

UM Capital’s emergency room, Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Center, OB/GYN, Behavioral Health unit and outpatient clinic will be trained on best practices to begin assisting trafficking victims or high-risk individuals.

“Victims of human trafficking are often identified by law enforcement, service providers, faith-based institutions, and medical settings,” Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said in a statement.

“This grant will support the appropriate training for medical professionals within the University of Maryland Capital Region to ensure that Prince George’s County is doing its part to identify and provide high-quality services to trafficking victims,” she continued.

The DOJ awarded the grant to UMD’s Support, Advocacy, Freedom, and Empowerment (SAFE) Center for Human Trafficking under the leadership of Ambassador Susan Esserman. The organization has a partnership with the hospital.

The SAFE Center helped develop the Serve, Identify, Respond, and eValuate (SIRV) model, which will help the hospital spot people who are at risk for trafficking and offer evidence-based, trauma-informed support to victims of trafficking.

“Putting this model into action is just the first step toward ensuring that medical facilities across the state are well equipped to provide the best care possible to victims of trafficking,” Esserman said.

The center hopes that this pilot program can be scaled up to other hospitals in the UM Capital system.

Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

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