Human trafficking: review of educational resources for health professionals

Am J Prev Med. 2013 Mar;44(3):283-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.10.025.


Context: Human trafficking is an increasingly well-recognized human rights violation that is estimated to involve more than 2 million victims worldwide each year. The health consequences of this issue bring victims into contact with health systems and healthcare providers, thus providing the potential for identification and intervention. A robust healthcare response, however, requires a healthcare workforce that is aware of the health impact of this issue; educated about how to identify and treat affected individuals in a compassionate, culturally aware, and trauma-informed manner; and trained about how to collaborate efficiently with law enforcement, case management, and advocacy partners. This article describes existing educational offerings about human trafficking designed for a healthcare audience and makes recommendations for further curriculum development.

Evidence acquisition: A keyword search and structured analysis of peer-reviewed and gray literature, conducted in 2011 and 2012, yielded 27 items that provide basic guidance to health professionals on human trafficking.

Evidence synthesis: The 27 resources differed substantially in format, length, scope, and intended audience. Topic areas covered by these resources included trafficking definitions and scope, health consequences, victim identification, appropriate treatment, referral to services, legal issues, and security. None of the educational resources has been rigorously evaluated.

Conclusions: There is a clear need to develop, implement, and evaluate high-quality education and training programs that focus on human trafficking for healthcare providers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Crime Victims / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Health Services Accessibility / organization & administration
  • Human Rights
  • Humans
  • Referral and Consultation