Healthcare Providers and Sex Trafficking

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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  • Grab – Health care professionals identifying victims of human trafficking
  • Thesis – I will inform the audience on the importance of healthcare professionals identifying human trafficking, steps to take when trying to help a victim of sex trafficking, and who to call for help
  • So What? – Sex trafficking is growing bigger every day, now more than ever. Most of the victims end up with health problems and are likely to seek medical attention.  Which is why health care professionals are crucial, since they serve a unique role in interacting and providing care for the victims.
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  • Preview – healthcare providers identifying sex trafficking victims, steps to take when trying to them, and who to call for help when you encounter a victimBodyI. Healthcare providers distinguishing sex trafficking victims
  1. About 80% of victims are reported seeking medical attention (Jordan Greenbaum, Medical Director of Child Protection Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, 2017)
  2. Most of them are presented to emergency departments, but there is also a significant number of victims that are also presented in a variety of outpatient clinic settings (Jordan Greenbaum, 2017)
  3. Victims usually seem (Dana Kaplan, Director of Child Abuse and Neglect, Department of Pediatrics, 2018):
  4. Anxious, fearful or paranoid and avoids eye contact
  5. Afraid of law enforcement or receiving help from other people
  6. Tearfulness or sign of depression
  7. Unexplained bruises or cuts or many other marks of physical abuse
  8. They are unable to answer questions about where they live
  9. Medical providers need to minimize questions that are too storytelling and instead ask basic yes or no questions
  10. For example: Do you know where you are? Is anyone hurting you?
  11. Safety or confidentiality can be compromised if their trafficker is in the room when asking questions (Clydette Powell, Department of Pediatrics, The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health sciences, 2016)
  12. Make sure to guarantee the patient that they have the opportunity to complete the questionnaire without the presence of anyone in the roomII. Steps taken to get a sex trafficking victim to talk and feel safe
  13. Build a foundation of trust (Jordan Greenbaum, 2017)
  14. Provide care and let the patient know that there is no judgement
  15. Show respect for the patient
  16. Ensure safety for the patient
  17. Empower the patient to participate in everything (Clydette Powell, 2016)
  18. Providing follow-up testing and treatments necessary
  19. Sexual transmitted infections (STIs) test, HIV/AIDS test, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) test, depression and suicidal tests (Jordan Greenbaum, 2017)III. Who to call for help (Dana Kaplan, 2018)
  20. Ask the patient if you can help them find a safe place
  21. Child Welfare, Social Service Agencies
  22. Law enforcement
  23. Ex: police
  24. Call and make a report to the human trafficking hotline


  1. Summary – Health care professionals serve an important role in identifying sex trafficking victims since they are in a unique position of interacting with them. Sex trafficking victims usually are anxious and avoid eye contact, they also have unexplained bruises all over the body, they are never alone, and they usually do not know where they are.  When encountering with a victim make sure they are alone when asking simple questions and ensure them that they are safe.  Do not forget to call law enforcement, social service agencies, or make a report to human trafficking hotline.
  2. Clincher – Imagine how many lives you can save by acknowledging victims of sex trafficking.
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Healthcare Providers And Sex Trafficking. (2019, Nov 09). Retrieved from