Medical students are trying to draw attention to the plight of victims of human trafficking, which prevails during high-profile events such as the Super Bowl.
Medical students at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami are hoping that a high-profile temporary tattoo will help fight human trafficking during Super Bowl weekend in Miami-Dade County. The tattoo, which will be featured prominently on social media, shows an image of a broken barcode.
“Historically, many traffickers mark their victims with a tattooed barcode as a sign of property,” said Isabella M. Ferré, a sophomore medical student leading the effort, alongside other student activists in the region. , providers of the University of Miami’s health care system. , law enforcement and community partners — to raise awareness of the plight of victims and increase activities associated with large-scale tourism events such as the Super Bowl.
The students designed the tattoo to symbolize that no child or person is for sale. The tattoo also contains the number for the national traffic hotline, which will hopefully provide a lifeline for those who may need the number, Ferré said. University medical students and a local documentary producer, who formed the Freedom Movement’s anti-trafficking initiative, plan to promote the broken barcode emblem at events throughout the world. long weekend.
“Barcodes are one of the main types of trademarks used by traffickers,” said Jazlyn Merida, a sophomore medical student. “A lot of these barcode tattoos will be scanned with a smartphone, giving that individual monetary value. This is just one type of brand variation and it is a psychological methodology to force an individual to give up their free will.
This Super Bowl weekend, Ferré, other university students and activists from the Freedom Movement are teaming up with influencers to wear the tattoo. “Our emblem is not a bar code. It’s a broken barcode, ”Ferré said. “This is a symbolically rich statement against all forms of trafficking, such as sexual exploitation, labor and organ harvesting. The emblem also hopes to evoke empowerment, as it shatters all the negative and unhealthy emotions associated with branding.
As part of a larger anti-trafficking effort with providers in the University of Miami health system, public health experts from Miller School and UM / Jackson Memorial Hospital, medical students (formerly Code Rise) have recognized trafficking as a problem in their community and have stepped up their efforts. to bring about social change. The student organizers realized that human trafficking transcends all sectors of society and that the public needs to be made aware of this pervasive social problem.
“The medical community plays a vital role in stemming human trafficking,” said JoNell Potter, professor of clinical obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the Miller School of Medicine. With guidance from the Miller School faculty – which has launched efforts to provide healthcare resources and educate the medical community on recognizing trafficking victims seeking medical help – the students worked to raise awareness of the surge in trafficking during the Super Bowl and other events that draw tourists to South Florida.
“The students are part of a growing community of advocates who saw this as an urgent need and continually designed new and creative tools and platforms to raise awareness and help victims,” Potter said.
Several initiatives addressing issues related to human trafficking are taking place across the University.
The School of Nursing and Health Studies recently hosted a special event to bring human trafficking to the forefront of health education. The event included a talk by Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami-Dade State Attorney, who detailed the harsh realities of human trafficking in South Florida; remarks from Dean Cindy L. Munro, who said the school is working with stakeholders to create a simulation-based program that addresses in real time the complexities that healthcare providers face in recognizing and responding to patients enslaved by traffickers; and a recognition scenario for human trafficking in the emergency department of the school’s simulation hospital.
Caitlyn Burnitis, a third year law school student, founded the Miami Law Alliance Against Human Trafficking, which works to educate the student body and the community about this important public health crisis through programs such as seminars and speakers. In late January, the alliance hosted “Sharing the Playbook: How Advocates and Organizers Respond to Super Bowl LIV Human Trafficking Concerns”.
Erin McNary, assistant professor of kinesiology and sports science at the School of Education and Human Development, hosted the recent fifth annual sports industry conference, which included a panel – “Milking, Sports and the peak ”- which addressed human trafficking surrounding major sports and entertainment events. McNary is co-chair of the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee / Miami-Dade Official Campaign Against Sex Trafficking Women’s Fund.