Human Trafficking and Health Care Providers: Legal Requirements for Reporting and Education

To learn more about the Legal Requirements for Reporting and Education tool, you can listen to this podcast with Jones Day’s Alexis Gilroy, Curt Kirschner, and Taylor Goodspeed, along with Dr. Hanni Stoklosa of HEAL Trafficking and Claire Zangerle of the American Hospital Association. They explain how hospitals and providers should use the tool, talk about how providers can overcome barriers to identifying and reporting trafficking incidents, and discuss the significant role of telemedicine.

The majority of trafficked persons in the United States access health care at some point during their exploitation. Health care providers who treat victims of human trafficking are subject to a patchwork of some-times inconsistent laws regarding their reporting obligations. Which patients should or must be reported and to whom vary from state to state and are often not congruent with federal law obligations. In addition, an increasing number of states impose education requirements for health care providers related to human trafficking.

As part of the American Hospital Association’s Hospitals Against Violence initiative, the AHA, Jones Day, and HEAL Trafficking have come together to provide resources to health care providers across the nation who are fighting the global scourge of human trafficking. To support that initiative, Jones Day has prepared the attached tool to help providers navigate the complex roadmap of their reporting and education obligations. With the increased role of telehealth and multi-state practitioners, the need for this type of resource is growing. AHA, HEAL Trafficking, and Jones Day are pleased to be able to provide this tool as a resource for use without charge.

The tool covers, for the federal government and each of the 50 United States, a summary of the applicable laws on the following topics: reporting of child abuse; reporting of sex and / or labor trafficking; and required regulation of anti-trafficking education of health care providers. In the minority of states that require reporting of adult (rather than child) trafficking victims, those additional reporting laws are designated in special blue font.

The attached tool outlines the federal and state statutes and corresponding regulations for mandatory reporting and education requirements for health care providers. The tool does not address the many other considerations for medical professionals regarding trafficking, including confidentiality, decision-making capacity of trafficking victims, and appropriate protocols for care of the victim.


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