The role of the nurse in combating human trafficking

Am J Nurs. 2011 Feb;111(2):28-37; quiz 38-9. doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000394289.55577.b6.


Human trafficking, also called modern slavery, happens worldwide--and the United States is no exception. Within our borders, thousands of foreign nationals and U.S. citizens, many of them children, are forced or coerced into sex work or various forms of labor every year. Nurses and other health care providers who encounter victims of trafficking often don't realize it, and opportunities to intervene are lost. Although no one sign can demonstrate with certainty when someone is being trafficked, there are several indicators that clinicians should know. This article provides an overview of human trafficking, describes how to recognize signs that a person is being trafficked and how to safely intervene, and offers an extensive resource list.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Causality
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / diagnosis
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / prevention & control*
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / statistics & numerical data
  • Coercion
  • Crime Victims / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Crime Victims / psychology
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data
  • Emigration and Immigration / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Emigration and Immigration / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Global Health
  • Government Regulation
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mandatory Reporting
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Organizations
  • Sex Work* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Sex Work* / psychology
  • Sex Work* / statistics & numerical data
  • United States