The Importance of Physicians Identifying Victims

Human Trafficking is an issue that rarely leaves any industry unscathed.  Many American industries – regardless of service or trade – comes in contact with human trafficking in one shape or form.  This includes grocery stores, clothing boutiques, manufacturing factory, a construction site and hotels.  Most individuals either choose to ignore the issue or are simply ignorant.  The latter is especially true when it comes to the medical industry, which can play a significant role in identifying victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation – and thereby reporting it to local law enforcement.

A recent article by Women News Network quoted a human trafficking survivor making this statement of the medical industry:

“No physician ever asked if I was abused and I saw many of them before I escaped at 18.”

How sad is it that an industry who is often times one of the first respondents to trafficked victims are inadequately equipped to identify and help those in need?

If you are a medical professional or student, please educate yourself on how to identify victims! Some incredible resources are listed below for your benefit but please do not stop here!  Continue to pursue further education, whether it be through asking specific and intentional questions of (trafficked) patients, funded research, discussions with colleagues or attending educational conferences.  Help combat human trafficking as a first respondent!

American Medical Student Association

Human Trafficking: The Role of the Health Care Provider

National Symposium on the Health Needs of Human Trafficking Victims

Victim Identification

Train ER Doctors to Identify Human Trafficking Victims

Health Care Providers’ Training Needs Related to Human Trafficking: Maximizing the Opportunity

to Effectively Screen and Intervene


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