Human trafficking is a public health issue and humanitarian crisis. Most alarming is that children are especially at risk. Although many studies demonstrate that the majority of trafficked persons surveyed engage with the health-care system during the time in which they are trafficked, health-care practitioners lack the knowledge, tools and resources to assist these patients. The present efforts in training health-care professionals have been fragmented and largely ineffective. While prior training has produced short-term changes in knowledge or attitudes of health professionals, it has not produced sustained changes in knowledge and attitudes nor meaningful changes in screening or intervention. No training has demonstrated changes in patient outcomes. Trafficked persons, particularly children and survivors of labour trafficking, are inadequately served by our present training options for health-care practitioners, and evidence-based protocols are needed to care for this underserved, disenfranchised and traumatised population. To provide optimal care for trafficked youth, health-care practitioners may benefit from: (i) evaluating training for health care providers (HCP) rigorously and meaningfully; (ii) advocating for high-quality training for all HCPs; (iii) fostering partnerships with key stakeholders to inform training and practice; and (iv) designing HCP training that is comprehensive, spanning all forms of human trafficking and including all populations involved.
© 2020 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (The Royal Australasian College of Physicians).