Each year about 17,500 individuals are brought into the United States and held against their will as victims of human trafficking.

Some estimate the number is as high as 60,000 annually. These numbers do not include those who are here from previous years, migrants already in the US, runaways, displaced persons, and those from oppressed/marginalized groups and the poor. Combating human trafficking is a daunting task and emergency healthcare providers have a critical role to play.

Medical providers are a frontline of defense for victims - especially providers in an emergency department setting. Victims present here, often with their traffickers, and receive medical attention but not the further help they need to remove them from the environment that places their lives at risk daily. Emergency healthcare providers often miss the signs of human trafficking, mistake the signs for intimate partner violence, and are rarely aware of how to help. Instead victims are sent back "home" with their traffickers. This situation can change and it must.

Emergency care clinicians must identify these victims and provide the opportunity for appropriate treatment. This website contains information to give practitioners a basic introduction to what human trafficking is, the clinical presentation of such patients, and the unique treatment needs of this patient population. Click on the "Educational Tools" tab for helpful instruments in educating providers at your institution. Click on the "In the ED" tab if you suspect you are caring for a trafficked person.


1.The definition of human trafficking

2.The targets of human trafficking

3.Trafficker identities

4.Statistics (if any) in local area of trafficked persons

5.Laws (state & federal) to combat trafficking

6.What happens after identification

7.Police corruption

8.Standards of medical documentation

9.Standards of medical treatment

10.What do NGOs offer?

11.Human trafficking as a disease

12.Illustrative narratives


1. Human Trafficking is

the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons:
by the threat or use of kidnapping, force, fraud, deception or coercion, or by the giving or receiving of unlawful payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, and for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor.1

2. Human Trafficking targets

3. Who is a trafficker?

4. Statistics

Area Organization Contact Info
NYC Safe Horizon 718-943-8652

Girls Education and Mentoring Service 212-926-8089

The Sex Workers Project 646-602-5617

CA Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking

Boat People SOS 703-538-2191, 2190

Tahirih Justice Center 703-575-0070

FL Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking 1-866-446-5600

Florida Freedom Partnership 1-866-443-0106

Shelter for Abused Women & Children 239-775-1101

DC Break the Chain Campaign 202-234-9382

Ayuda 202-387-2870 ext 10

Polaris Project6 202-745-1001

Salvation Army


5. Laws

6. What happens next?