SRF040: Investigating Physician Knowledge and Care Response to Human Trafficking at an Academic Medical Center

Prachi Singh, BA; Victoria Udezi, MD, MPH; Nora Gimpel, MD


Human trafficking occurs when an individual is exploited for commercial sex or labor through force, fraud, or coercion. The state of Texas reports the second highest number of cases in the country and is actively working on anti-trafficking efforts. Healthcare settings are critical for identifying and assisting victims and survivors. Studies estimate that 25 to 88% of trafficked individuals came into contact with healthcare professionals, mostly in primary care settings, but were not recognized and treated as such. This highlights the unique position of primary care clinicians to intervene in this vulnerable population and the importance of appropriate training for the current and future workforce.
To assess human trafficking knowledge, training, and usual practices of resident and faculty physicians in specialties most often encountered by victims of trafficking.
IRB-approved, expedited study.
Cross-sectional study. A brief, 24-item survey distributed via REDCap to resident and faculty physicians in primary care, dental, and orthopedic specialties.
UT Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Hospital.
A 24-item anonymous survey based upon similarly constructed, previous studies, addressing the human trafficking knowledge, skills, and practices of resident and faculty physicians in primary care, dental, and orthopedic specialties.
Preliminary pilot data (n=9) reveal that majority (66.6%) of responders agree there is a strong responsibility for physicians to identify and treat human trafficking victims. All participants agree that human trafficking training should be a mandatory part of medical curriculum and that it would make them better practitioners, yet only 1 of 9 (11.1%) agrees that their medical training adequately prepared them. Seventy seven percent of the residents agree that they have not received adequate instruction on human trafficking and 89% stated they are not comfortable identifying, managing, and providing resources for human trafficking
Preliminary findings indicate the need to integrate human trafficking training in graduate medical education in order to develop skills needed for appropriate trauma informed care of populations affected. Survey participation and data analysis are ongoing.
Leave a Comment
Jack 11/21/2020

wow, great project. so important. thank you for the work you are doing and for sharing it with NAPCRG.

Bill Phillips 11/23/2020

Great study, well presented. Thanks for sharing it at NAPCRGand adding your video. Interested in your next steps. (Hope to see them here at NAPCRG next year.) What are your thoughts and plans for moving this work from the academic/training setting into the community/practice setting?

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