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The Anatomy of Human Trafficking

Learning About the Blues

A Healthcare Provider's Guide

Stevens, Meriam PhD, RN, NP-C; Berishaj, Kelly DNP, RN, ACNS-BC, CFN, SANE-A

doi: 10.1097/JFN.0000000000000109
Original Articles

ABSTRACT Human trafficking is a major global public health concern. It is a grave crime that violates human rights. Contrary to healthcare providers' perceptions, victims of human trafficking come in contact with the healthcare system while being trafficked, with the emergency department being the most frequented setting for medical treatment. In this article, we explore the anatomy of human trafficking, including the scope of the problem, definitions, and types and elements of human trafficking. The roles of clinicians, particularly emergency department nurses and advanced practice nurses, in screening and identifying those at risk are examined. Clinical practice tools and guidelines that may be used by clinicians to guide the treatment of human trafficking victims are reviewed. Finally, current strategies and resources that address human trafficking are presented. For the purpose of this article, the terms “human trafficking” or “trafficking” will be used throughout.

Author Affiliation: Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Meriam Stevens, PhD, RN, NP-C, Oakland University School of Nursing, 3015 Human Health Bldg., 2200 N. Squirrel Rd., Rochester Hills, MI 48308. E-mail:

Received January 6, 2016; accepted for publication April 1, 2016.

© 2016 by the International Association of Forensic Nurses. All rights reserved.
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