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Human trafficking – What is the role of the health care provider?

Posted By: • September 23rd, 2015

Human trafficking is a troubling issue for public discussion and for health care providers (HCP) to address. Human trafficking is a relatively new name for an age-old human rights violation.

This modern-day form of slavery, which encompasses labor and civil rights violations, has been regulated for less than a decade; thus, the concepts are poorly understood and often coupled with a misunderstanding of the definition of trafficking, confusion of trafficking with anti-immigrant sentiments, and other contemporary and poignant border issues.

The concern for the human rights of individuals who are trafficked is coupled with denial, blame, and a disturbing lack of awareness of protections, benefits, or resources to assist the HCP and institutions in the management of human trafficking victims. Moreover, the forensic nature of the issue involves the intersection of the legal and health care professions, who must work collaboratively to address human trafficking.

This article will present a comprehensive overview of human trafficking and the related health care issues for trafficking victims, many of whom are women and children. Legal interventions will be presented briefly as well. Indicators, screening questions and therapeutic messages are offered to HCP as tools for use in practice.

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