The Proactive Outreach for the Health of Sexually Exploited Youth (POHSEY) will transform the medical response and care delivery for sexually exploited youth by developing trainings, protocols and tools to educate healthcare providers and improve medical practices for identifying and treating of sexually exploited youth

In a recent survey of Wisconsin healthcare professionals, less than half were able to correctly identify sex trafficking victims. Ninety percent of those surveyed were not at all or only somewhat confident in their ability to competently identify victims. Lack of training and awareness were reported by respondents as the biggest barriers to identification (Rabbitt 2015). Those who had received some form of education or training were significantly more likely to identify victims appropriately and rated their confidence in their competence and ability to identify victims significantly higher. Of those who had received some form of training, 95 percent were interested in learning more about identifying and treating trafficking victims (Rabbitt 2015). The target population for this project will be medical students and healthcare professionals who serve and may come in contact with youth who have been sex trafficked or exploited.

By integrating specialized training, evaluation tools, resources and child sexual exploitation (CSE) templates into medical education and practice, the project team will change the way the medical field and community approaches, views, and response to the medical needs of CSE youth. The POHSEY project will create educational training and curriculum, as well as guidelines for Smart Sets to assist health care professionals in the identification and treatment of youth who have been sex trafficked or commercially sexually exploited. Hospital systems will be able to use these guidelines as a template for their own “smart sets” that can be integrated into their electronic health record/electronic medical record systems.

By the end of 2017, POHSEY will have an established online training curriculum and have laid the groundwork for the guidelines to be adopted and adapted as smart sets in other organizations throughout Wisconsin.

POHSEY is funded by a grant from the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program, a program of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

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Read about our community involvement here.

Learn about our previous accomplishments here.