The California Fire Service March-April 2023

THE CALIFORNIA FIRE SERVICE MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2023 • 13 Services, the Polaris Project began operating the National Human Trafficking Hotline and Resource Center (NHTRC) in 2007 to assist victims of trafficking. Since its inception, the hotline has received more than 54,000 calls and has played a central role in the U.S. national strategy to combat trafficking. California has consistently ranked first in reporting states with 15.76 percent of the hotline’s incoming calls. In 2020, law enforcement arrested over 300 people for human trafficking from 33 of 58 counties across California indicating a pervasive statewide threat, impacting more than 57 percent of Californians. As anti-trafficking related awareness training is being widely adopted among public safety professionals, few specialized training options for Fire/EMS personnel exist. A majority of trafficking intervention training was designed for and focused on law enforcement and social service agencies. As sensors in the community, working 24-hours a day, first responders are exposed to immense amounts of information and are likely to encounter suspected human trafficking victims. Numerous research studies have demonstrated the fire and EMS professionals are under-utilized and under trained to identify and engage this crime. Beginning in 2020, the San Diego District Attorney’s Office partnered with the San Diego County Fire Chiefs Association, the San Miguel, Rincon and San Diego fire departments and American Medical Response to provide the specialized training to an estimated 3,000 first responders. Starting in 2024, the California Emergency Medical Services Authority (CalEMSA) will be requiring a modicum of training for paramedics and other first responders. This will be the first statewide mandate for emergency medical services in the state of California. Enacted in 2022, commencing July 1, 2024, Assembly Bill 2130 requires EMT-I, EMT-II, and EMT-P, upon initial licensure, to complete at least 20 minutes of training on issues relating to human trafficking. A jurisdiction’s criminal law reflects the values and morals of that community. The ability to refine and perfect a response defines its commitment to the cause. As our trafficking knowledge matures, decision-makers must look for creative strategic and tactical methods to illuminate exploitation. The California Training & Education Expo (CTEX) provides the perfect venue to start this conversation. At the 2023 CTEX conference we will instruct on the criminal elements of human trafficking, future anti-trafficking training requirements, and how CSFA members can engage and support the fight against modern-day slavery. About the authors: Heather Marques is an Alameda County Fire Department BC with 17 years in the fire service. She has served as a Firefighter/Paramedic/HazMat Specialist, a Fire Captain/Paramedic/Water Rescue Specialist, an operational Battalion Chief, and now Division Chief of Medical Services. She is a State Certified Instructor and skills evaluator, as well as serving as preceptor and proctor for the department and teaches with the Fire Academy Cadre. She is a member of the East Bay Incident Management Team, and a chairperson for the California State Firefighter’s Association. Marques is the author of the history book, Alameda County Fire Department and serves as the historian for the ACFD. Marques holds an A.S. in Paramedicine, a BA in Anthropology from UC Berkeley, and has completed her coursework for the Master of Security Studies at the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Department of Homeland Security in Monterey. Her thesis is called Working Fire: Recruitment and Retention of Women Firefighters. She is passionate about finding pathways to promote growth and innovation in the California Fire Service. Heather is married to a retired Fire Captain/Paramedic, and they have two little girls together. Benjamin Thomas Greer, J.D., M.A. is an Emergency Management Instructor, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) Mr. Greer’s role at the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services is as a subject matter expert in the field of human trafficking and child sexual exploitation; specifically instructing and developing human trafficking courses for law enforcement and emergency management personnel. Before joining Cal OES, he served as a Special Deputy Attorney General for the California Department of Justice - Office of the Attorney General. He led a team of attorneys and non-attorneys in a comprehensive report for the California Attorney General entitled, “The State of Human Trafficking in California 2012” and published extensively on various aspects of trafficking. Aside from his work with CalOES, he recently graduated from the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security Master’s Degree Program and is a Research Associate for the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Applied Research in Human Trafficking (CCARHT). At the 2023 CTEX conference Benjamin Thomas Greer and Chief Heather Marques will instruct on the criminal elements of human trafficking, future anti-trafficking training requirements, and how CSFA members can engage and support the fight against modern-day slavery.