Health Consequences of Sex Trafficking & Implications for Identifying Victims

VictimThe Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy at Loyola University Chicago recently released the Annals, a bi-annual journal covering health law topics. In this Winter 2014 issue, Laura Lederer, J.D., President of Global Centurion, and Chris Wetzel, published an article on “The Health Consequences of Sex Trafficking and Their Implications for Identifying Victims in Healthcare Facilities.”

The full article can be found here: The Health Consequences of Sex Trafficking.

Through privately funded seed money, Global Centurion Foundation (GCF) developed a simple health questionnaire for trafficking survivors, which demonstrates the short-and long-term health consequences associated with human trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, prostitution and related activities.

These victims are often physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually devastated as a result of this criminal activity, and unfortunately, health institutions in the U.S. are seeing and treating these victims on a regular basis and failing to identify them and catalyze a rescue.  Instead, these victims are being medically “treated” and sent back to their trafficker.  As one doctor explained, “It is like treating burn victims with salve and a Band-Aid and sending them back into the burning building.”

Marketplace Research ChartThe study collected data from associated focus groups in twelve cities across the United States.  The focus groups included 107 participants, all domestic survivors of sex trafficking, ranging in age from 14 to 60.

The results of the study detail findings on survivors’ physical and mental health issues and summarizes critical issues in the provision of health care for sex trafficking victims.  Finally, the study sets forth recommendations for legislators, policymakers, and healthcare professionals to help prevent human trafficking and assist and rescue current trafficking victims.