Healthcare and sexual exploitation

The majority of trafficking victims had contact with health care provider at some point while being trafficked, according to a 2014 study published in the Annals of Health Law. There is a gap in the healthcare system in identifying and supporting victims of trafficking as most doctors and nurses do not realize that they see victims of trafficking every day.

Reasons for seeking medical services :

  • In an emergency
  • After an assault
  • OBGYN checks
  • Prenatal care
  • Routine checkups
  • Addiction treatment

Barriers to victim self-identification :

  • Shame or guilt
  • Fear of retaliation by trafficker
  • Fear of arrest of deportation
  • Lack of transportation or controlled movement
  • Fear of report to social service.
  • Lack of understanding of the healthcare system

Recognizing sex trafficking victims :

  • Inappropriate dress for weather of situation
  • Signs of drug of alcohol abuse
  • Lack of control of own money/finances
  • Signs of physical and/or sexual abuse
  • Evidence of controlling or dominating relationships

Health indicators: adult sex trafficking

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Health indicators: child sex trafficking

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