Military and First Responders go through a lot of specialty training to qualify and maintain their careers. One common training module that many receive teaches how to spot signs of human trafficking and what to do about it.
Two Denver paramedics demonstrated the value of this training while responding to a typical call regarding abdominal pain. The patient lived in an apartment complex both paramedics had been to before, though the two had never worked together before.
On arrival, Laura Gehm and her Field Training Officer Julia Drahn got to work and began asking questions. Right away they both got a sense that something was wrong. A man in the apartment insisted on answering questions for the patient and was reluctant to allow her to be transported.
“When I was trying to talk to her and figure out the story, just nothing seemed to make sense,… And the answers that she was giving us were very one-worded.”Laura Gehm
Drahn confirmed Gehm’s suspicions saying “The dynamic between her and the man on scene really kind of gave me – the hairs on the back of my neck stood up”.
Acting quickly, the Paramedics escalated the issue and discovered that the patient was indeed a victim of human trafficking.
The victim was lucky that the Paramedics knew what to look for. Drahn and Gehm have been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross at the Denver Health Foundation’s 4th Annual Paramedics Awards Celebration to Honor Community Heroes.