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West Virginia health care providers enlisted to spot human trafficking


The Herald-Dispatch

Medical professionals attend a training session intended to help identify and reduce human trafficking Wednesday at Cabell Huntington Hospital.
(Herald-Dispatch photo by Sholten Singer)

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Human trafficking is not a matter tucked out of sight in developing nations. It’s driven past on the streets of Huntington each day and found even in the most far-flung hollows of outlying West Virginia.

Second only to drug trafficking as the largest criminal enterprise worldwide and in the United States, the prevalence of human trafficking has been fueled locally by the region’s opioid epidemic as victims are sexually exploited to fund drug addiction, either their own or someone else’s.

As part of what senior deputy attorney general Robert Leslie called the cultivation of a “statewide force multiplier” in detecting and uprooting human trafficking, the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office hosted a training seminar Wednesday for health care providers, particularly nurses and frontline staff, at Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington.

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