Guidance on spotting possible victims of human trafficking
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September 1, 2018
In June, The Joint Commission (TJC) released Quick Safety Issue 42 on identifying human trafficking victims. The Health and Human Services Department estimates that 88% of trafficking victims visit a healthcare provider at least once during their captivity and aren’t recognized as victims. Misconceptions and a lack of awareness have caused many providers to inadvertently send victims back to their captors.
“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and a public health issue that impacts individuals, families and communities,” The Joint Commission wrote in announcing the Quick Safety issue. “The alert provides health care professionals with tips to recognize the signs of human trafficking, including a patient’s poor mental and physical health, abnormal behavior, and inability to speak for himself/herself due to a third party insisting on being present and/or interpreting.”
While human trafficking is believed to be one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in America, it’s difficult to gauge how many victims there are in the U.S. However, in the past 10 years there’s been over 40,000 human trafficking cases reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.