A Multisource Derivation of Guidelines for Education and Screening for Human Trafficking in the Emergency Department

Stephen Morris*, Marlee Hahn and Brandy Cluka

A Multisource Derivation of Guidelines for Education and Screening for Human Trafficking in the Emergency Department.

Trafficking in persons is a major problem that intersects many facets of society, including the
legal system, law enforcement, and healthcare. While some elements of American society have
been active in improving awareness and action against trafficking in persons, healthcare has
been slow to adopt standardized education and training about this population.

There remains some ambiguity regarding how to identify these victims, but some
understanding of screening can be correlated from literature surrounding intimate partner violence. An understanding of what is known of the epidemiology, combined with evidence of efficacy of screening techniques
for other vulnerable populations, supports targeted screening.

Emergency medicine as the front line of the healthcare system has a
unique opportunity to access these vulnerable
patients and connect them with services. With a review of
easily accessible literature, training, and legal documents, we make a case for a
comprehensive training program for emergency medicine residents.

Our recommended training would include epidemiology of the populations
involved, screening and interviewing, training and practice, understanding of ways to access
local resources, and education around risk factors and indicators to help identify victims.

Due to the criminality of TIP there is no accurate way to determine incidence and
prevalence. Estimates by various sources place the number of trafficked individuals in the range
of 4 to 27 million globally with perhaps a half million of these people being exploited in the
United States.

Healthcare offers a clear avenue for identification of victims and an
opportunity to bring the victims to safety; however,
the medical establishment has been slow to
embrace the potential role they could serve in addressing this problem.

Emerg Med Open J. 2016; 2(2): 27-31. doi: 10.17140/EMOJ-2-125