Human trafficking and exploitation: guidance for health workers

Advice how to recognise and help victims of human trafficking and exploitation.

Your role as a health worker

As a health worker you are in an ideal position to support victims of human trafficking. Given the health risks associated with sexual exploitation and forced labour it is likely that at some point victims will interact with health services.

Victims or potential victims of human trafficking are entitled to free healthcare[22].

Health problems can exist before, during and after trafficking. Figure 1 illustrates the various stages of trafficking and the influences on victims' health and wellbeing.

Figure 1: Conceptual model: Stages of the human trafficking process[23]

Figure 1: Conceptual model: Stages of the human trafficking process

Remember: travel and transit is not necessarily part of this process since some cases will be domestic victims of trafficking.

It is important to recognise that whatever stage victims occupy within this process, they are trapped in a range of difficult social, legal, psychological and financial circumstances.

Key Point: The health provider who encounters a trafficked person or other exploited individual has a unique opportunity to provide essential medical care and vital referral options that may be an individual’s first step towards recovery and safety.



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