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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

UMiami: Medical Students Debut Broken Barcode Tattoo to Combat Human Trafficking During Super Bowl Weekend

Before and during the Super Bowl weekend in Miami-Dade County, medical students at the Miller School of Medicine debuted a temporary tattoo of a broken barcode, educated health providers, and conducted public service announcements to help combat human trafficking.

Second-year UM medical student Ms. Isabella M. Ferré, who is an alumna of the University of Miami Department of Public Health Sciences led the effort alongside fellow student activists, University of Miami Health System providers, law enforcement, and community partners to spread awareness of the plight of victims and increased activities associated with high-profile tourism events such as the Super Bowl. Alongside the Freedom Movement, they partnered with influencers to wear the tattoo in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl weekend.

Barcodes are one of the major types of branding marks by traffickers. Many of these barcode tattoos will scan with a smartphone, which places a monetary value on that individual. This is only one type of branding variation and it is a psychological methodology to force an individual to relinquish his or her free will.

In an interview with medical communications, Ms. Ferré emphasized that the emblem was a shattered barcode to symbolize a rich statement against all forms of trafficking – such as sexual exploitation, labor, and organ harvesting.

Medical students designed the broken barcode tattoo, which also contained the national hotline number, making this campaign also about providing a lifeline for those who might need the number.

“The emblem also hopes to evoke empowerment, as it shatters every negative and unhealthy emotion associated with branding,” said Ms. Ferré.

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