NEWS | June 6, 2014

Local health professionals invited to educational workshop about sex trafficking


Concerned with increasing news reports of human trafficking in the Sacramento region, UC Davis School of Nursing professors developed a training workshop for area health professionals in hopes of helping practitioners better identify, and then support, victims of sex trafficking. The free workshop will be from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10, in the Education Building, Room 1222 at 4610 X St., Sacramento. Dinner and snacks will be served.

The free workshop will be from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10. The free workshop will be from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10.

“Nationally, Sacramento is one of the most lucrative and largest hubs for both sex trafficking and child prostitution,” said Jann Murray-Garcia, an assistant professor with the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. “This training will equip UC Davis Health System and other area clinicians, students, faculty and staff to recognize sex trafficking victims and be prepared to offer constructive support that will not put victims in further danger.”

Workshop speakers include Leah Albright-Byrd, founder and executive director of Bridget’s Dream and a Sacramento sex trafficking survivor; Margaux Helm, a therapist and director at WEAVE, Inc.; Detective John Sydow of the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department; and Ellen Goldstein, a trauma therapist and doctoral student at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.

The workshop was born out of last fall’s UC Davis Health System Interprofessional Book Club for faculty, students and staff. Murray-Garcia developed the program in 2010 as part of the greater UC Davis Campus Community Book Project, which was developed to improve both the campus climate and community relations, to foster diversity, and to promote equity and inclusiveness. The health system book clubs emphasize the same goals but from the perspective of delivering health care, Murray-Garcia said.

“During the 2013-2014 Interprofessional Book Club, which featured Nicholas Kristof and Wu Dunn’s book ‘Half The Sky,’” we focused not just on ‘over there’ in other countries, but the sex and human trafficking industry that is literally on the same street as our world-class health system,” she said.

Book study participants discussed how health professionals could take action against this crime and also support victims, which led to the planning for the training session.

“We were humbled and stunned to learn of this previously invisible (to us) population of largely women and girls within our region. We were even further motivated to learn that many of these women have visited health providers, perhaps hoping against hope that they would be recognized as victims in the sex trafficking industry,” Murray Garcia said. “This training is pragmatic: how to help without hurting or putting women and young girls at further risk. How to do what is in within our scope to do within the limited time we have to do it. How to empower first-line providers and other community members to weigh in on this worsening issue within our community.”

Workshop participants also have an opportunity to participate in a study as part of the workshop. Researchers seek to increase knowledge, ability and confidence of health-care providers to identify and heal victims of sex trafficking as well as assess the health system’s capacity to serve victims of sex-trafficking. Willing participants will be asked to complete a pre- and post-educational survey. Participation in this study is voluntary and study participants may discontinue at any time. Participants who want to attend the event but not participate in the study are welcome.

The event is sponsored by the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, the School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine, and Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement. Workshop attendees must make the commitment to remain for the entire 4-hour session at time of registration. Space is limited. RSVP by email to

About the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis
The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis was established in March 2009 through a $100 million commitment from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the nation's largest grant for nursing education. The vision of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is to transform health care through nursing education and research. The school’s first programs, doctoral and master’s degrees, opened in fall 2010. Master’s degree programs for nurse practitioners and physician assistants, with a focus on preparing primary-care providers for rural and underserved communities, opened in summer 2013. The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is part of UC Davis Health System, an integrated, academic health system encompassing the UC Davis School of Medicine, UC Davis Medical Center and the UC Davis Medical Group. For more information, visit