There is growing recognition and evidence that health care professionals regularly encounter—though they may not identify—victims of human trafficking in a variety of health care settings. Identifying and responding appropriately to trafficking victims or survivors requires not only training in trauma-informed care but also consideration of the legal and ethical issues that arise when serving this vulnerable population. This essay examines three areas of law that are relevant to this case scenario: criminal law, with a focus on conspiracy; service provider regulations, with a focus on mandatory reporting laws; and human rights law. In addition to imposing a legal mandate, the law can inform ethical considerations about how health care professionals should respond to human trafficking.
Click here for the full article, published in the AMA Journal of Ethics (January 2017).