Introduction: Human trafficking is an international public health concern in which healthcare professionals are in a unique position to intervene. It is unclear how professional medical organizations have responded to the need to identify and assist trafficked patients.
Methods: Using key phrases “human trafficking,” “medical organization,” and “policy,” search engines and databases including Google Scholar, PubMed, and Google were utilized to identify medical organizations that had policies regarding human trafficking. The HEAL (Health, Education, Advocacy and Linkage) Trafficking website was also cross-referenced to identify additional medical organizations.
Results: Overall, eight out of 265 national medical organizations had policies regarding human trafficking. These were the American Medical Association, American Medical Women’s Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, Christian Medical and Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and American Psychiatric Association. Policy statements varied in their content, recommendations, and victim populations addressed.
Conclusions: Opportunities exist for national medical organizations to develop their policy statements on human trafficking. While medical organizations’ policies do not ensure compliance or meaningful impacts of changes in practice behaviors, they can bring attention to this public health concern and encourage training and higher standards of care.
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