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Health Care Providers

Health care providers include a variety of professionals, such as doctors, nurses, technicians, and pharmacists. As a health care provider, your role is to identify and respond to individuals who are at risk of trafficking, currently experiencing trafficking, or who have experienced trafficking using a trauma-informed, person-centered approach. This includes addressing the individual’s immediate needs, referring them to appropriate services, and reporting when mandated by state. In every interaction, regardless of your specific role, it is important to follow the guiding principles of trauma-informed care discussed throughout this eGuide. 

Health care providers may also facilitate the development and implementation of policies and protocols in their institutions. To do this, you’ll need to coordinate services both within your organization and through collaboration across other public health sectors. 

A person who has experienced trafficking will likely need a variety of health-related services.To ensure their needs are met, collaborate with specialists and expand your referral network as needed. For help finding health care providers who have worked with individuals with a history of trafficking, contact HEAL Trafficking, or another interdisciplinary network of health professionals across the country dedicated to ending human trafficking and supporting survivors.

Individual health care needs will vary, but may include:

  • Dental care
  • Broken bones
  • Sexual assault forensic examination
  • Substance use treatment
  • Malnutrition and/or dehydration
  • Short- and long-term medical treatment, depending on the seriousness of the injury or infection
  • Long-term physical impact of trauma
  • Optometry 

For more information, visit the following organizations and resources:

More Health Care-Specific Resources

  • Baldwin, S.B., Eisenman, D.P., Sayles, J.N., Ryan, G., & Chuang, K.S. (2011). Identification of human trafficking victims in health care settings. Health and Human Rights, 13(1), 36–49. https://healtrafficking.org/publications/identification-of-human-trafficking-victims-in-health-care-settings/
  • Crane, P. & Moreno, M. (2011). Human trafficking: What is the role of the health care provider? Journal of Applied Research on Children, 2(1), 1-27. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/46715141.pdf
  • Dovydaitis, T. (2010). Human trafficking: The role of the health care provider. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, 55(5), 462-467. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3125713/
  • Isaac, R., Solak, J. & Giardino, A. (2011). Health care providers’ training needs related to human trafficking: Maximizing the opportunity to effectively screen and intervene. Journal of Applied Research on Children, 2(1), 1-27. https://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/childrenatrisk/vol2/iss1/8/
  • Lederer L.J., & Wetzel, C.A. (2014). The health consequences of sex trafficking and their implications for identifying victims in health care facilities. Annals of Health Law, 23, 61–91. https://www.icmec.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Health-Consequences-of-Sex-Trafficking-and-Implications-for-Identifying-Victims-Lederer.pdf
  • Mid-Atlantic P.A.N.D.A. (Prevent Abuse and Neglect through Dental Awareness). Mid-Atlantic P.A.N.D.A. training. Retrieved May 21, 2020 from www.midatlanticpanda.org
  • Sabella, D. (2011). The role of the nurse in combating human trafficking. American Journal of Nursing, 111(2), 28–37. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.NAJ.0000394289.55577.b6 
  • Todres, J. (2017). Physician encounters with human trafficking: Legal consequences and ethical considerations. AMA Journal of Ethics, 19(1), 16–22. https://www.choa.org/~/media/files/Childrens/medical-professionals/physician-resources/cpc/md-encounters-with-ht-todres-ama-ethics-2017.pdf
  • Zimmerman, C., Yun, K., Shvab, I., Watts, C., Trappolin, L., Treppete, M., Bimbi, F.,…Regan, L. (2003). The health risks and consequences of trafficking in women and adolescents. Findings from a European study. London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). http://lastradainternational.org/lsidocs/270%20Health%20consequences%20of%20trafficking%20(EU%20study).pdf

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