Summary of Key Findings
Proactive Outreach for the Health of Sexually Exploited Youth (POHSEY)
- Minors who have experienced exploitation in the sex trade (sex trafficking) often experience significant mental and physical health problems requiring medical care.
- Youth who have survived sex trafficking feel that medical providers should screen for victimization and should be a resource to youth at-risk for sex trafficking.
- Medical providers often do not have a full understanding of the definition of sex trafficking in minors and are unaware of resources available to this population.
- Lack of awareness and low confidence in the ability to recognize victims and refer to the appropriate services makes many providers reluctant to screen for victimization.
- Training can improve knowledge and confidence. Most medical providers feel that this training should be a standard part of medical education.
- Providers also feel that improved systems within community and legal organizations that serve youth, as well as a more streamlined method to access those services, would improve their confidence and willingness to screen youth for victimization in the sex trade.
Pediatrics Volume 135 Number 4 April 2015
Megan E. Beck, BS, Megan M. Lineer, BS, Marlene Melzer-Lange, MD, Pippa Simpson, PhD, Melodee Nugent, MA, Angela Rabbitt, DO
Background and Objectives: Sex trafficking (ST) victims have unique medical and mental health needs and are often difficult to identify. Our objectives were to evaluate knowledge gaps and training needs of medical providers, to demonstrate the importance of provider training to meet the pediatric ST victim’s specific needs, and to highlight barriers to the identification of and response to victims.
Angela Rabbitt, DO, FAAP
Abstract: Medical professionals are in a unique position to identify and assist pediatric victims of sex trafficking, who experience a high prevalence of physical, mental, and sexual health problems. However, providers report a need for education and guidelines for medical care of this population. A literature review was conducted on the nature and scope of pediatric sex trafficking in Wisconsin, the medical and mental health needs of victims, and existing guidelines for medical management. Few existing medical guidelines for the care of trafficking victims are specific to pediatrics or include specific recommendations for the forensic medical evaluation. Because of legislation and resources specific to Wisconsin, national guidelines may not apply locally. Based on the literature review, as well as input from community partners and medical professionals who frequently provide services to victims, guidelines for the medical care of pediatric sex trafficking victims in Wisconsin were developed. Additional community barriers that may prevent an effective medical response also are discussed.
Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States: A Guide for the Health Care Sector (PDF)
(2013) Institute of Medicine/National Research Council Report
This guide is intended to raise awareness of these opportunities so that health care professionals will be better equipped to fulfill their important role in preventing, recognizing, and responding to commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking among the youth in their care.