Human Trafficking in the ED – What you need to know

Human trafficking is a devastating crime, where a human being’s labor is exploited through force, fraud, or coercion, for someone else’s profit. For survivors, connecting to support in the community can be incredibly difficult, and may come at the expense of their personal safety.

The emergency department (ED) is a rare exception, with some studies estimating that over 60% of trafficked persons will present at some point during their exploitation to the ED. Unfortunately, less than 5% of emergency physicians report feeling confident in their ability to identify a trafficked person, citing confusion around patient characteristics and their role as a provider.

By learning more about human trafficking, ED providers can better prepare themselves to identify and provide appropriate support to those who experience human trafficking.

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