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Information for Medical Professionals


Why this is important

Health care professionals may observe patients with symptoms that often signal trafficking. Training is necessary to recognize the signs. 


Education for medical professionals

Information for Medical Professionals

Why this is important

Health care professionals may observe patients with symptioms that often signal trafficking. Training is necessary to recognize the signs.


Education for medical professionals

This is an 11-minute introduction to human trafficking for the healthcare community. Led by Colleen Scanlon, RN, JD, Catholic Health Initiatives; Roy Ahn, MPH, ScD, Massachusetts General Hospital and Wendy Macias Konstantopoulos, MD, MPH, Massachusetts General Hospital.

New York State new Public Health Law (PHL) § 2805-y

Effective November 4, 2017, new Public Health Law (PHL) § 2805-y, added by Chapter 408 of the Laws of 2016, requires general hospitals and diagnostic and treatment centers (DT&C) to establish and implement policies and procedures for the identification, assessment, treatment and referral of individuals who are or appear to be human trafficking victims and train staff in such policies and procedures. Click here to see new PHL § 2805-y.


The New York State Department of Health (Department), in consultation with the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), is in the process of developing regulations to implement new PHL § 2805-y.


The following resources are provided by the NYS Department of Health to assist in the development of policies and procedures required by the law and upcoming regulations. Additionally, they are useful for the preparation of staff training, particularly in the identification of those patients who are or appear to be human trafficking victims.

• A course entitled “NYSDOH Human Trafficking Awareness Training,” available on the Department’s Learning Management System at;

• Materials on human trafficking on the OTDA website at;

• Materials on human trafficking on the OCFS website at;

• Materials on human trafficking on the website of the Division of Criminal Justice Services

• Materials made available by the Health, Education, Advocacy and Linkage (HEAL) network, including its toolkit for developing protocols in health settings, at;

• Training available through the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Stop, Observe, Ask, Respond to Human Trafficking (SOAR) program, at; and

• Information about the potential of disaster situations to lead to conditions conducive to human trafficking on the HHS website at


Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States: A Guide for the Health Care Sector (2014), by Institute of Medicine (IOM); National Research Council


Human Trafficking: Guidebook on Identification, Assessment and Response in the Health Care Setting (2014), by Massachusetts General Hospital and Massachusetts Medical Society


American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: Committee Opinion on Human Trafficking  provides information including Safety for Health Care Providers.


Free Child Sex Trafficking Webinar Series for Health Care Professionals. This web-based training series aims to educate professionals on sex trafficking of children and teens. The series of six individual 90-minute modules presented via live webinars or self-paced computer based trainings (CBTs) is offered by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Interested professionals may participate in any of the webinars or CBTs and do not need to complete all six. The modules do not need to be included in order; however, it is recommended that those with limited knowledge of this topic complete the introduction module prior to starting others in the series. For a detailed schedule, click here.


Human Trafficking: What the Health Care System Can Do, a 2015 webinar presented by Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence (HPOE), part of the American Hospital Association. The session describes the overall problem of human trafficking and explores how health care organizations can and are addressing issues related to human trafficking in their institutions and communities. Both the presentation slides and a recording of the webinar are available. Consider this statistic quoted in the presentation: Up to half of victims are evaluated in a health care facility while they are being trafficked. In other words, the health care system might be the first ray of light for a trafficking victim who might literally be living in a dark hole.


National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine - Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology: Sex Trafficking in Women and Girls.


International Organization for Migration, UN.GIFT, and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine: Caring for Trafficked Persons: Guidance for Health Providers.


Health care provider assessment card, health care brochure, health care poster and more from the Look Beneath the Surface campaign of the Administration for Children & Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.   


Human Trafficking: The Role of the Health Care Provider, published in the J Midwifery Womens Health. 2010 Sep-Oct; 55(5): 462–467, available on the National Institutes of Health website.


The fight against human trafficking requires teamwork across disciplines and professions, published in the Advanced Healthcare Network for Nurses, June 2012


Is Your Patient a Sex Slave?, an Expert Interview With Thomas F. Burke, MD,, May 2013.


Human Trafficking: Guidebook on Identification, Assessment, and Response in the Health Care Setting,

published by MGH Human Trafficking Initiative, Division of Global Health and Human Rights, Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA and Committee on Violence Intervention and Prevention, Massachusetts Medical Society, September 2014.


From the American Academy of Pediatrics "Child Sex Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation: Health Care Needs of Victims", by Jordan Greenbaum, MD,James E. Crawford-Jakubiak, MD, FAAP, COMMITTEE ON CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT, published February 2015. Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), which includes sex trafficking, is a global problem, yet pediatricians may not recognize or know how to help affected individuals. This report details risk factors, recruitment practices, signs of CSEC, and medical and behavioral problems that victims may experience.


PATH, Physicians Against the Trafficking of Humans, is a program of the the American Medical Women's Association, to help educate healthcare providers about human sex trafficking. The website provides information to train individual physicians and materials to be used in presentations. One of the goals of this site is to encourage physicians to become more aware of the resources available in their respective states for victims' services and further education. A video provides the scope of the problem, identification techniques, intervention techniques, and connections to resources.


Trafficking in Persons and Health: A Compendium of Monitoring and Evaluation Indicators, covers health sector preparedness, post-trafficking assistance programs’ response to health, referrals and policies related to health, and the health status and care received by individuals who have been trafficked. Current methods and areas for further development are discussed, as additional research and indicator development will be vital to addressing trafficking and the intersection of gender and health in a wider context.  Published by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2014.   


Resources from the The National Human Trafficking Resource Center, including Recognizing and Responding to Human Trafficking in a Healthcare Context,  a recorded presentation; an assessment tool; and a factsheet for clinicians. These three resources were updated in February 2016.


HEAL Trafficking, a grassroots group to help health professionals identify and support trafficking victims.

Cultural Competency: What is it and Why is it Necessary?, a white paper defining “cultural competency” and explaining its importance and need in the alleviating issues of disparities within health care systems. Commonly used terms and concepts are explored in this paper published by the The Southeastern Health Equity Council in 2015.

Cultural Competency Resource Guide, a guide to resources, trainers, institutions, and publications about cultural and linguistic competency that can help address cultural barriers within health care systems. Additionally, this guide, published by the The Southeastern Health Equity Council in 2015, also includes important terms to become familiar with while developing a common language around cultural competency.

Presentations from the 14th Annual International Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference held in Toledo, Ohio:

Comprehensive Care for Trafficked Persons in Healthcare: Case Studies by Ruth Downing MSN RN CNP SANE-A and Laura Kaiser BSN RN SANE-A of the Forensic Nursing Network

Jumping Hurdles: Engaging Trafficked, Homeless Youth by Hollis Yost, LPC & Melissa Brockie, MSW of the Tumbleweed/UMOM New Day Center


The Effects of Trauma from the University at Buffalo School of Social Work.


For Emergency Medical Service providers


Coffee break training from FEMA


Indicator cards from FEMA for firefighters and EMS providers


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