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Human Trafficking

What do healthcare providers need to know?

Doctor and Patient


Faculty Name:  Mellissa Withers, Ph.D., MHS, Associate Professor, Keck School of Medicine of USC.


Dr. Withers -

After drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with illegal arms dealing as the largest criminal industry in the world, generating $150 billion a year worldwide. Los Angeles is a hot spot for human trafficking.


Often, healthcare providers are among the few people who interact with victims while they are being trafficked. Healthcare providers are in a unique position to intervene because they may be one of the few outsiders that have interacted with a trafficking victim. This is often a wasted opportunity due to the barriers, such as lack of time, lack of referral systems and protocols, lack of training, unfamiliarity with mandatory reporting laws, unresponsive or fearful patients, and lack of opportunity for patients to be alone with the provider.



We will emphasize the role of the healthcare provider in identifying and assisting victims and review strategies and best practices to do this.

Highlights of Presentation
In this training, we will cover:


  • The definition of human trafficking

  • Personal characteristics that increase vulnerability to human trafficking

  • Common myths and misconceptions about human trafficking 

  • How to recognize warning signs of trafficking

  • Developing protocols, safety, and legal concerns ensuring private visits with patients, appropriate questioning, use of interpreters, and where to refer victims Best practices in interacting with possible victims, such as D

  • The importance of using a trauma-informed approach

  • Additional resources, such as free online training, hotline numbers, screening toolkits, etc.

Learning Objectives
At the conclusion of this activity, learners should be better able to:

  1. Define types of human trafficking

  2. Explain the role of the healthcare provider in recognizing and responding to trafficking victims and survivor

  3. Describe how to report cases or suspected cases of human trafficking

  4. Outline the various types of cultural diversities (gender, age, race, religion, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, socioeconomic, etc.) that may relate to human trafficking


References, Cultural and Activity Verification/Assessment Questions Available in order to fulfill CE Credits.

Contact Us

To train your Emergency Room department or Satellite Clinics

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