This portion of the website is specifically designed for clinicians currently seeing a patient they suspect is trafficked. Clinicians should use their experience and training, the knowledge of their colleagues, and this page to determine if a patient may be a trafficked person.

 

If you suspect or confirm that your patient is being trafficked, call 1-888-3737-888.

 

 

1. Populations at Risk in the U.S.

2. Signs and Symptoms

3. Differential Diagnoses

4. Treatment Recommendations

 

1. Populations at Risk in the U.S.

 

  • U.S. citizens and residents
  • documented and undocumented immigrants
  • people of all genders
  • youth, including the homeless and those in foster care
  • those working in the labor industry, some examples include:
    • domestic work
    • child care
    • restaurant worker
    • nail salon workers
    • hotel housekeeping workers
    • factory workers
    • construction workers
    • sweatshop workers
    • farm workers
    • landscape workers (eg: gardeners)
    • drug dealers
    • shop lifters
    • gang members
  • those working in the commercial sex industry, some examples include:
    • prostitutes
    • pornography actors
    • “mail order brides”
    • ANY minor doing sex work
    • “exotic” dancers and/or strippers
    • persons working in massage parlors, hostess clubs, escort services, commercial phone sex & internet dating

 

2. Signs and Symptoms

 

  • lack of knowledge of a given community/whereabouts
  • not in control of personal identification
  • few to no personal possessions
  • weather inappropriate clothing
  • does not speak (someone else speaks for them)
  • third party insists on being present or interpreting
  • injuries (multiple, old & new)
  • signs of malnourishment
  • branding or tattoos
  • under 18 engaged in commercial or survival sex 1 – DE FACTO
  • claim of “just visiting”
  • inconsistent story
  • history that does not match injury
  • behavior change when “law enforcement” is mentioned
  • multiple sexually transmitted infections
  • multiple bacterial and/or yeast infxns
  • inappropriate demeanor (e.g.: fearful, anxious, submissive, flat affect, hostile, aggressive)

 

3. Differential Diagnoses

 

  • intimate partner or domestic violence
  • rape or sexual assault
  • child maltreatment
  • elder abuse

 

4. Treatment Recommendations

 

  • attend to their clinical needs
  • gain the patient’s trust
  • inform the patient of your role as a clinician, and what you are required to report
  • interview the patient alone (use a licensed interpreter if necessary)
  • specifically ask about the patient’s safety
  • offer reworded stories (to uncover inconsistencies)
  • stay calm & even-keel
  • succinctly document your concern in your notes
  • specifically for sexually exploited trafficked patients, presumptive treatment for:
          • gonorrhea
          • chlamydia
          • trichomoniasis
          • syphillis
          • UTI
  • Call a help hotline, if you suspect or confirm the patient is being or has been trafficked (or contact social work for a local anti-trafficking organization):
    • the National Human Trafficking Resource Center: 1-888-3737-888
    • Polaris Project numbers:
      • English: 1-888-373-7888
      • Korean: 1-888-967-5246
      • Spanish: 1-888-80-AYUDA

1 Survival sex: When someone engages in any sex act with the purpose of providing a basic necessity (e.g.: shelter, food, clothing, medication) that they believe could not otherwise procure.