Honors project targets sex trafficking
By Jimmy Tomlin
The specter of human trafficking haunted Lindsay Larison until she had to do something about it.
“You can’t learn about a topic like that and then just not do anything about it,” says Larison, 22, of Thomasville. “I was really moved and wanted to do something.”
So Larison, who just received her nursing degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, embarked on an honors project in which she created an online education module that addresses how nurses can play a role in combating sex trafficking.
Her website, titled “Sex Trafficking and the Nursing Role: An Online Educational Module for Nurses,” is applicable for nursing educators, practicing nurses, and nursing students, according to Larison.
“I’m also working with the faculty at Carolina to get it published in some nursing journals, and I’m working with various organizations to see if they’ll offer it as a continuing education credit,” Larison says.
According to Larison, nurses have a unique opportunity to connect with sex-trafficking victims in health-care settings. The keys, though, are understanding what signs to look for and knowing how to reach out, she adds.
“This teaching module will give nurses a firsthand look at sex trafficking in the United States, and put them in a position to make a real, positive intervention,” Larison says.
Larison, a 2009 graduate of East Davidson High School, became aware of human trafficking when she was a student at UNC. She learned about it from a friend who works for a human rights organization called the International Justice Mission.
“She told me all about human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking and labor trafficking,” Larison recalls. “Then I found out more from the Polaris Project, which is an international organization that’s focused on ending trafficking worldwide. They’re kind of the resident experts on trafficking.”
That’s when she decided to focus her honors project on nurses and the role they can play in putting an end to human trafficking.
“I wanted it to be concise, but still be extensive enough to where people have a better idea of what sex trafficking is and know what the next step is that they can do,” Larison says.
The module includes a PowerPoint presentation, lectures and slide shows, as well as quizzes and a simulation that nurse educators can use.
“It’s an all-inclusive educational module,” she says, “and everything is downloadable straight from the website, so educators can take whichever part they want.”
According to Larison, nurses who encounter a victim or suspected victim of sex trafficking should contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, which has a hotline established for that very purpose.
“It’s really all about getting people to know this is a problem so they can recognize it and begin to talk about it,” she says. “And the more people talk about it, the faster we can find solutions.”
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To access “Sex Trafficking and the Nursing Role: An Online Educational Module for Nurses,” visit http://nursingstrafficking.web.unc.edu/.
For more information about human trafficking, visit the Polaris Project website at www.polarisproject.org.
At a glance
Name: Lindsay Larison.
Family: Daughter of Stan and Vickie Larison, granddaughter of Mary Barber, all of Thomasville.
Education: 2009 graduate of East Davidson High School, 2013 honor graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a degree in nursing.
Other distinctions: Induction into the Alpha Alpha Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing; named a Buckley Public Service Scholar for completing more than 300 hours of volunteer service.