An estimated 88 percent of human trafficking victims seek medical attention while still in captivity[1], and the majority go unnoticed by healthcare workers due to lack of training and awareness.

Internet use has actually increased human trafficking to epidemic proportions. As of 2016, the industry was estimated to have grossed $150.2 billion on a global scale, with an estimated 70 percent of revenue being generated from individuals sold online.[2] Once the victim is sold via the “dark web,” they are transported to the buyer frequently using mainstream modes of transportation. In recognition of the growing urgency to take action, more legislation is being passed to combat trafficking through education, prevention and protection.

Many trafficking bills have been signed into law at the Federal level, including the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. Within recent years, there’s legislation at the state level as well. Recently, Missouri House Bill 1246 of 2018, which focuses on awareness and requires the clear posting of a specified poster that features methods to spot human trafficking and how to report it, was passed.

Health systems and local clinics all over the country have joined the fight. Via new training and displaying state-mandated content, healthcare professionals are now more equipped to identify and help trafficking victims. Allegheny Health Network in Pennsylvania found their new training tremendously helpful. Within the first five months of their program, 38 people were identified as possible victims.[1] Dignity Health has also implemented a human trafficking response program in its Hospitals and physician offices. Their program requires asking specific questions upon new patient intake, educating staff on warning signs and how to help the victims.

Here are three simple steps you can take to ensure your staff is more prepared.

  1. Mandatory Training – There are several educational videos and pre-made training classes available online. This can be as easy as showing a brief video detailing signs to look for.
  2. Using Code – Some health networks have implemented the use of specific medical coding to privately identify victims of abuse. This allows staff members to reach out to the proper authorities without alarming the victim.
  3. Ask the Right Questions – It may seem simple, but including targeted questions on patient forms is highly effective. For ideas of what to ask, use this brochure.

DataFile is committed to fight against human trafficking. As a proud woman-owned business, we believe in equity for all.


[1] https://onlinenursing.duq.edu/blog/identifying-human-trafficking-healthcare-system/
[2] https://themissouritimes.com/49252/missouris-reported-human-trafficking-cases-increased-in-2017/
[3] http://humantraffickingsearch.org/human-trafficking-statistics-2017/
[4] https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/07/24/631517533/hospitals-gear-up-for-new-diagnosis-human-trafficking



Share This