Allie Hurst awarded grant aimed at identifying victims of child sex trafficking during emergency department encounters

Irene (Allie) Hurst, MD, MS has received a grant from the Cars Curing Kids Foundation for her work titled “Operationalizing Sex Trafficking Screening in an Academic Emergency Department: A Quality Initiative.” Through this grant, Dr. Hurst will work to institute confidential, electronic screening tools for sex trafficking of minors in the pediatric emergency department, and track and improve the usage of these tools via systematic quality improvement cycles.

Child trafficking is the recruitment, coercion, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of children under the age of 18 for the purpose of exploitation. It is a violation of their rights and their well-being and denies them the opportunity to reach their full potential. Trafficking occurs in all 50 U.S. states.

National Human Trafficking Hotline statistics show a 25 percent jump in human trafficking cases from 2017 to 2018. This includes sex and labor trafficking. Of the more than 23,500 runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2018, 1 in 7 were likely victims of child sex trafficking. According to the Polaris Project—a non-profit NGO working to combat and prevent sex and labor trafficking in North America—although runaway and homeless youth are particularly vulnerable, there are also several examples of victims who were groomed and recruited while living at home and even attending school. Learn more about how child sex trafficking happens.

For more on Dr. Hurst’s work in this area, check out her recent publication in the medical journal Pediatrics: “Confidential Screening for Sex Trafficking Among Minors in a Pediatric Emergency Department.

From research to equipment and technology, to supporting families during pediatric treatments, Cars Curing Kids is committed to funding and supporting causes that improve health outcomes in the lives of children in southern Wisconsin. Comprised of automotive enthusiasts passionate about children’s health care, Cars Curing Kids raises funds through automotive-centric events that share a love and joy of cars with children and adults alike, with funds donated directly to vital research combating childhood disease and healthcare challenges.