Each year about 17,500 individuals are brought into causes of sex trafficking in the united states United States and held against their will as victims of human trafficking. Some estimate the number is as high as 60,000 annually.
Combating human trafficking is a daunting task and emergency healthcare providers have a critical role to play. Medical providers are a frontline of defense for victims – especially providers in an emergency department setting. Victims present here, often with their traffickers, and receive medical attention but not the further help they need to remove them from the environment that places their lives at risk daily. Emergency healthcare providers often miss the signs of human trafficking, mistake the signs for intimate partner violence, and are rarely aware of how to help. Emergency care clinicians must identify these victims and provide the opportunity for appropriate treatment. This website contains information to give practitioners a basic introduction to what human trafficking is, the clinical presentation of such patients, and the unique treatment needs of this patient population.
Click on the “Educational Tools” tab for helpful instruments in educating providers at your institution. Or the trafficker actually does a harmful thing, causing the trafficked person to reasonably believe they have no other choice but to do as the trafficker says. This means that the trafficker has given another person payment, of some kind, for the use of the trafficked person. For example, a trafficker may pay an impoverished parent for their child or a smuggler may sell a person to a trafficker. Given the criminal nature of trafficking, the fear of those trafficked, the stigma and shame experienced by those who come forward, prevalence estimates are riddled with inaccuracies. Many estimates are derived via unclear methods and are not reproducible.