Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science


Emergency Medicine


Professor Mary Walton, DMSc, PA



A horrendous violation of human rights that affects millions of people worldwide is human trafficking. Oftentimes characterized as the modern slave trade, human trafficking is an umbrella term for a group of crimes that violates human freedom and is more prominent in modern society than most people believe occurs. A significant percentage of human trafficking victims have been in direct contact with a healthcare provider during captivity. Many victims go unrecognized during medical visits, which are failed opportunities for healthcare providers to intervene on the victim’s behalf; therefore, healthcare providers must become educated on identifiable risk factors associated with human trafficking.

This article aims to provide healthcare providers with a practical review of human trafficking, its definition, the scope of the increasing problem, and easily identifiable signs for providers to identify and assess individuals who may be human trafficking victims. Once identified, guidance is necessary on how to intervene on behalf of a victim, what resources are readily available, and how to report cases.


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