Human trafficking and child sex trafficking and sexual exploitation in particular are global public health issues with widespread, lasting impacts on children, families, and communities. Traditionally, human trafficking has been treated as a law enforcement problem with an emphasis on the arrest and prosecution of traffickers. However, use of a public health approach focuses efforts on those impacted by exploitation: trafficked persons, their families, and the population at large. It promotes strategies to build a solid scientific evidence base that allows development, implementation, and evaluation of prevention and intervention efforts, informs policy and program development, and guides international efforts at eradication. This article uses the public health approach to address human trafficking, with a focus on child sex trafficking and exploitation. Recommendations are made for public health professionals to contribute to anti-trafficking efforts globally.
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