Healthcare providers are one of the few groups of professionals likely to interact with victims of human trafficking while they are still in the control of the criminals who are manipulating and profiting from them. In one study, 28% of victims came into contact with the health care system at least one time during their captivity.
This represents a crucial opportunity for identification and intervention. Health care providers are in a unique position to screen for victims of trafficking and provide important medical and psychological care for victims while in captivity and thereafter. In order to optimize this opportunity to screen for and identify potential human trafficking victims, however, health care professionals will need additional training and experience.
This article explores a number of health care issues associated with victims of human trafficking and explores the training that front line physicians and nurses require to screen and subsequently identify these vulnerable individuals in order to respond in an effective manner.