Human Trafficking: First Responders in Health Care

Main Article Content

Elizabeth Peffer Talbot
Yumi E. Suzuki


human trafficking, health care, COVID-19, Faith


This article addresses the problems first responders encounter when attempting to identify and rescue survivors of human trafficking. Research indicates that 87.8% of women who escape captivity report they saw a health care provider at least once during captivity. This makes health care providers a critical first responder partner. First responders include law enforcement officers, health care providers, school nurses, and faith-based organizations. Health care workers are most likely to encounter survivors while in captivity. Multi-disciplinary collaborations between health care workers and law enforcement provide increased opportunities to share knowledge and recognize signs of human trafficking in patients. Theoretical paradigms have been used to analyze and anticipate changes in criminal activity and identify victims. Multi-disciplinary teams have developed a check-list of behaviors typical of captives and a questionnaire that illuminates captivity. The article further comments on the reported impact of COVID 19 on the health care’s system ability to recognize victims. It presents the many contributions of school nurses and the faith community to the first responder movement.





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