News Releases

Governor's Wellmobile Provides Services to SAFE Center for Human Trafficking Survivors

May 17, 2016

In a joint venture, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) are teaming up to combat human trafficking in Maryland.  The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON), through its Governor’s Wellmobile Program, will join in UMB’s efforts, as the two campuses have combined resources to open the University of Maryland Support, Advocacy, Freedom and Empowerment (SAFE) Center for Human Trafficking Survivors, located near the UMCP campus.

This initiative is a product of the University of Maryland: MPowering the State, a formal collaborative program for innovation. UMB and UMCP will help address human trafficking through the SAFE Center by providing in-house services to U.S. and foreign-born adult and child survivors of sex and labor trafficking. 

In addition, UMSON is collaborating with the University of Maryland Schools of Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Social Work, to work in tandem with UMCP on this interprofessional initiative. The Wellmobile Program, a nurse-managed, mobile-health clinic that provides primary care to thousands of the state’s most vulnerable residents, will play an instrumental role in this effort. Members of the Wellmobile population are often foreign-born, Latino, non-English speaking, and/or uninsured.

“The synergy of our mutual goals in serving vulnerable populations can be achieved through this partnership by providing comprehensive services and care for people in need,” said Kathryn Montgomery, PhD ‘97, RN, NEA-BC, associate professor, and chair, Department of Partnerships, Professional Education, and Practice.

The Wellmobile has an agreement with the SAFE Center to share referrals and resources. Its established community presence and referral networks, and its proximity to the SAFE Center, provide easy access to primary care services. Patients of the SAFE Center will receive services from the center and then will be referred to the Wellmobile to address their health care needs. Conversely, victims of human trafficking who seek health care services from the Wellmobile, but haven’t received assistance from a victim’s center, will be referred to the SAFE Center.

“The SAFE Center is an extraordinary example of what can be accomplished through collaboration and the provision of services with an interdisciplinary approach.  We are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with our colleagues at the University of Maryland, College Park on this important work that addresses the needs of survivors of sex and labor trafficking,” said UMSON Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN.  “It is gratifying to be able to harness the resources of the professional schools at UMB in an interdisciplinary effort to help survivors heal, reclaim their lives, and look forward to a better future.”

According to the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, human trafficking is the second highest grossing criminal enterprise, as the worldwide industry earns $150.2 billion annually. The center aims to provide survivor-centered and trauma-informed services that empower trafficking survivors to heal and reclaim their lives. Additionally, the center works to help prevent trafficking and better serve survivors through research and policy advocacy.