Victims of Human Trafficking and their Access to Healthcare

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Updated: Oct 19, 2023
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Victims of Human Trafficking and their Access to Healthcare

Beyond immediate exploitation, victims of trafficking often face severe health issues due to physical abuse, neglect, or exposure to diseases. Their clandestine existence and fear of authorities further hinder access to essential healthcare services. This topic examines the unique healthcare needs of trafficked individuals and the barriers they face in accessing medical care. On PapersOwl, there’s also a selection of free essay templates associated with Health Care topic.

Category:Health Care
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Access to healthcare has been a dilemma for many years in underdeveloped countries and communities. One reason is the feeble economical dynamics that people are faced with in that territory. However, one of the big issues that tends to hide in the shadows is the global epidemic of human trafficking around the world. There is an inadequacy of access to healthcare for the millions of victims where many of which are frequently predisposed of due to the horrendous conditions they are exposed to.

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Individuals exposed to this type of exploitation, face trauma unfathomable both physically and mentally. Victims are faced which challenges when gaining access to help through the healthcare system.

Background information

Human Trafficking has incline rapidly to be recognized as a global public health epidemic. The estimated individuals exploited is shocking 45.8 million in 167 countries (Brace, Sanders, 2016). Human trafficking consist of subgroups such as labor traffickers and sex traffickers (HHS, 2017). Many people today consider human trafficking as a modern era slavery. These act of smuggling, violence, and exploitation are just a few clear signs of human rights being violently taken away from individuals. Many victims are a combination of young women, children and men. Human trafficking is usually masked behind organized crime groups such as the Mexican cartel families and their associate entities as well as some individuals of power who hide under the shield of diplomatic immunity. Over the decades, the human trafficking business has become a national multi- billion-dollar enterprise. This makes it difficult to action gain a statistical value of the exact volume of post exploited victims, making it hard to reach out to them. According to the US. Department of State article on human trafficking, it is complex in nature, such that gaining reliable data is difficult when researching local, regional and global prevalence (State, 2016) Many victim’s health issues usually occur after the fact. Many suffer from psychological issues such as post- traumatic stress disorder, not to exclude physical treatment as well. One issue why victims are denied healthcare service is that victims are usually transported to locations they are unfamiliar with (Stoklosa, 2017). Typically, victims are smuggled to different ends of a countries or even a completely different country where they are deemed illegal immigrants and have no financial stability to even pay for service. Grant it, these scenarios may be different and very in complexity however, victims have no voice. On the healthcare end, professional medical staff, for the most part, are unaware when faced with a victim who is in need of service. This raises the question, how do we advocate to the healthcare community to help enable 1, awareness and 2, access to provide elevated support and service to victims? We first need to address what the proper tools are needed to educate health professionals and implement a design that is tailored to service victims.

Policy Proposal

In order to create a policy that implements situational awareness for healthcare professionals across the globe, we first need to start in one place, then expand. Emily Brace explains that professional support workers who are knowledgeable of the complexities to trafficking would be utilized. Additionally, they would have a strong understanding of the challenges these trafficking victims faced. This policy will put a system in place were healthcare professionals will recognize, understand, service and advocate for victims seeking healthcare. It is important to note that at times, victims of trafficking do not always recognize themselves as actual victims of trafficking. For example, there have been times were health professionals have reached out to individuals knowing that they have been a victim. However, victims will claim that they have not been trafficked when in reality, the common misconception that people smuggling and human trafficking fall under the same category (Brace, Sanders, 2016). Many victims are deceived by false promises of love, a good job, or a stable, life not knowing that they are indirectly lured into situations where they work in deplorable conditions (Williams, 2018). This demonstrates the importance of creating awareness, not only to health professionals but victims as well. they need to know what constitutes them as legitimate victims that have the right to seek help. The financial aspect of this policy is vital. The health system must recognize that status influence of immigration should not be an inhibiting factor of achieving service for individuals. Funding will provide field line staff and health professionals with the necessary means of identification management training (how to identify victims) as well as the fundamental tools needed to minimize barriers that healthcare systems bring thus, increasing the further development of health access. This policy proposal will also help improve educational awareness for health professionals and field line staff groups in identifying and helping victims.

What’s Next?

The next action in accomplishing this policy will be the implementation of standardized service bases for victims of human trafficking. Additionally, the possibility of effective long-term sustainment of access for victims. This will also require converging with healthcare providers and other supporting agencies such as immigrant-refuse services, U.S. Health and Human Services, and youth groups victim service providers (HHS, 2014). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or HHS for instance, provides a variety of services for victims of trafficking on a domestic level, however, becoming certified to be eligible for federally funded services for non-US immigrants is not easy. To help alleviate this, we must empower victims to self-identify, thus creating an integration of individuals in a international society (Brace, Sanders, 2016).

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Victims of Human Trafficking and their Access to Healthcare. (2019, May 17). Retrieved from