Grand Rapids Press: Grand Rapids doctor joins Sen. Gary Peters in promoting human trafficking bill

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A local physician joined U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, on Friday, May 1, in calling for training to help medical professionals identify victims of human trafficking.

Dr. Matthew Denenberg, the chief medical director of Spectrum Health's Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, spoke in support of legislation that would provide training to help doctors and nurses recognize the warning signs that could indicate a person is a victim of human trafficking.

The victims "are too often afraid to reach out for help, and empowering doctors and nurses to recognize the signs of human trafficking is critical to addressing this problem," Denenberg said at a news conference at Spectrum's Fred & Lena Meijer Heart Center.

"These victims are likely to come in contact with a medical professional at some point in their captivity, and this bill is a great step towards getting them the help they need and ending the growing problem of human trafficking."

The bill that Peters co-sponsored with Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, passed the Senate on April 22 as part of a broader package of human trafficking legislation and is now before the House. It aims to help those who are forced to to sell sex for money or to work in dangerous conditions without pay, Peters said.

By:  Sue Thoms