Understanding the Experiences of Survivors of Sex Trafficking in the Healthcare Setting and their Medical Care Needs


September 21 | 9:00-10:00 AM | Room 3020

In the United States, thousands of minors and young adults are victims of Human Trafficking (HT). US-born victims of HT are typically exploited through sex trafficking—commercial sexual exploitation. At least 20% of HT victims come to interact with healthcare providers (HCP) at some point during their victimization. Although some protocols and trainings to identify HT victims in healthcare settings (HCS) exist, HT victims often go unidentified. There is scant research in understanding the interactions between HT victims and HCPs. To address this gap, this study interviewed survivors of sex trafficking (SST). It sought to present their accounts on a) the HCS they visited, b) reasons for seeking care, and c) barriers to disclosing victimization with HCPs. This study utilized an exploratory concurrent mixed-method research approach. Data were collected from March 2016- March 2017 in San Diego, CA and Philadelphia, PA, (N=21). Univariate and inductive analysis were performed to analyze data. Emergency Departments (76.2%) and Community Clinics (71.4%) were the most frequented HCS. Main reasons for healthcare visits included treatment for STIs, followed by battery injuries (52.4%). This study confirmed that SST sought medical care during their victimization and provided essential insights as to the types of healthcare settings attended, reasons for seeking medical care and barriers limiting them from disclosing their victimization with HCPs.
Presentation Objectives:

·       Discuss commonly used HSC by SSTs

·       Provide a deeper understanding of what were the main reasons for seeking care

·       Describe barriers to victimization disclosure during their medical visit

About the Presenter