Correlates of Human Trafficking Risk: Implications for Screening, Referral, and Intervention among Substance Abuse Populations


Isis Martel, MS | September 20 | 4:00-5:00 PM

Topic: Research | Knowledge Level: Advanced

Clinical professionals are among the most likely to come into contact with those that are currently or have been victims of human trafficking. A response to education and awareness campaigns worldwide has increased efforts to improve screening and referral for trafficking victims among the medical, legal, and social service communities. This presentation will describe a descriptive study aimed at understanding what relationships exist between human trafficking victimization and other social and health indicators. A pilot study with 150 participants completed a screening for human trafficking (sex and/or labor) using an adapted version from the VERA assessment upon intake into substance use treatment. The VERA assessment is a validated tool, funded by the National Institute of Justice, developed by the VERA Institute to accurately identify victims of both sex and labor trafficking. Over one-half screened at-risk for human trafficking without self-identifying as victim. Descriptive analyses reveal that there are significant relationships among social determinants of health, health literacy, HIV risk, adverse early childhood experiences, and human trafficking risk. Structural equation modeling was then conducted to develop a pathway model of trafficking risk among substance abuse clients in treatment. These results informed an implementation study to better screen for human trafficking victimization, make appropriate referrals to services, and implement universal precautions for at risk populations that is currently underway. This session will be aimed at clinicians, health care professionals, and community members who want to better understand what relationships exist among risk factors for trafficking victimization. 

Presentation Objectives:

·  Explain social determinants of health.

·  Describe relationships among risk factors for trafficking.

·  Identify screening and referral strategies.

·  Pinpoint potential moderators of trafficking risk.

About the Presenter