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Human Trafficking: What is the Role of the Health Care Provider?

Patricia A. Crane & Melissa Moreno
Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk

The article will address the global and local issue of human trafficking. An estimated 20,000 people are trafficked within the U.S. each year. Trafficked people are forced, defrauded and coerced into labor and sexual service for profit of others. Traffickers use individual vulnerabilities and immigration status, language ability and poor understanding of U.S. laws to identify future victims. One case in 2005 in Texas resulted in 100 victims being identified, none of whom revealed themselves to health care professionals.

Health care professionals need contemporary and updated information and resources about health risks, screening methods, and identification of trafficked persons. Readers will learn about common medical problems experienced by individuals who are leaving trafficking situations. Legal and health care intersections will be explored. Implementation of a response protocol to assist those who may currently be enslaved will be introduced.

Real case examples from trafficking survivors will be presented and discussed. Participants will learn how to reach out, look beneath the surface, provide assistance, and access resources to help victims, and gain a better understanding of the health challenges faced by trafficked victims.




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