Health care and human trafficking: We are seeing the unseen

Makini Chisolm-Straker, Susie Baldwin, Bertille Gaïgbé-Togbé, Nneka Ndukwe, Pauline N. Johnson, Lynne D. Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Objectives. This study aimed to build the evidence base around human trafficking (HT) and health in the U.S. by employing a quantitative approach to exploring the notion that health care providers encounter this population. Furthermore, this study sought to describe the health care settings most frequented by victims of human trafficking. Methods. This was an anonymous, retrospective study of survivors of U.S.-based human trafficking. Results. One hundred and seventy-three participants who endured U.S.-based human trafficking were surveyed. The majority (68%, n=117) of participants were seen by a health care provider while being trafficked. Respondents most frequently reported visiting emergency/urgent care practitioners (56%), followed by primary care providers, dentists, and obstetricians/gynecologists (OB/GYNs). Conclusions. While health care providers are serving this patient population, they do not consistently identify them as victims of human trafficking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1220-1233
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of health care for the poor and underserved
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2016


  • Emergency medicine
  • Human trafficking
  • Slavery
  • Vulnerable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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