Recognizing victims of human trafficking in the pediatric emergency department

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2015 Feb;31(2):144-7; quiz 148-50. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000000357.


Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery that is rapidly expanding in the United States and throughout the world. It is a crime under both the United States and international law. The child and adult victims of human trafficking are denied their basic human rights and subjected to unspeakable physical and emotional harm. Traffickers exert complete control over their victims and are proficient at hiding their condition from authorities. Healthcare practitioners may be the only professionals who come into contact with victims if they present for medical care. This article will describe human trafficking and its potential victims, as well as guide medical management and access to services that will ensure their safety and restore their freedom.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Abuse / diagnosis*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Human Trafficking*
  • Humans
  • United States