“Doctors can help human trafficking victims: reports” by Andrew M. Seaman

As research indicates, human trafficking and prostitution is a multi billion dollar industry that exploits and abuses women and children internationally. Although a systemic change is the only true answer to solve this system of oppression, two new publications from JAMA pediatrics conclude doctors can be a valuable resource if trained to screen patients correctly. By becoming familiar with issues surrounding commercial sexual exploitation, professionals can help increase the reporting of this crime and connect survivors to further resources. This is an excerpt from a recent article published by Reuters. The source of this excerpt is http://uk.mobile.reuters.com/article/idUKKBN0FQ23520140721?irpc=932.

image retrieved from wikipedia.org

image retrieved from wikipedia.org

Healthcare professionals can play a role in addressing human trafficking and sexual exploitation, according to two new reports.

Doctors and researchers write in JAMA Pediatrics that it’s up to a collection of people and agencies to advance and strengthen U.S. efforts to prevent, identify and respond to commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors.

“Human trafficking is a significant worldwide dilemma,” Dr. Aimee Grace said. “In the U.S., healthcare providers can do something about it.”

Grace, of Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., is the lead author of one of the reports addressing the integration of lessons about human trafficking into medical education and training.

“We hope (addressing) human trafficking becomes more a part of the norm about what medical providers provide as part of their practice,” she said.


In their report, Grace and her co-authors write that healthcare professionals may be some of the few people to interact with sexual exploitation and sex trafficking victims. One study found about half of trafficking survivors had sought medical attention while being trafficked, they note.

Grace told Reuters Health that there are areas where sexual exploitation and sex trafficking can be addressed within the healthcare setting, for example when doctors ask questions about intimate partner violence and sexual abuse.

She also said there are a number of tools to educate doctors about those topics.

“A lot of them have been met with success,” Grace said.

Medical schools, residency programs, health professional organizations and regulatory bodies can ensure that lessons about human trafficking become part of medical education, Grace and her co-authors write.

This is a significantly shortened excerpt. To read the full article, please visit the Reuters website http://uk.mobile.reuters.com/article/idUKKBN0FQ23520140721?irpc=932

Andrew M. Seaman is a reporter for Reuters.