Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Medical Education Online








Education, Medical, Continuing; Emergency Service, Hospital; Health Personnel; Hotlines; Human Trafficking; Humans; Inservice Training; Interviews as Topic


Some 21 million adults and children are labor-trafficked or sex-trafficked through force, fraud, or coercion. In recognition of the interface between trafficking victims and the healthcare setting, over the last 10 years there has been a notable increase in training of health care professionals (HCPs) on human trafficking (HT) and its health implications. Many organizations have developed curricula and offered training in various clinical settings. However, methods and content of this education on trafficking vary widely, and there is little evaluation of the impact of the training. The goal of this study was to assess the gaps and strengths in HT education of HCPs in the US. This mixed-method study had two components. The first component consisted of structured interviews with experts in human trafficking HCP education. The second portion of the study involved an analysis of data from HCP calls to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC). The interviews captured trainer-specific data on types of HT training, duration and frequency, key content areas, presence of evaluation approaches and indicators, as well as an assessment of barriers and strengths in HT training for HCP. NHTRC call database analysis demonstrated increasing trends since 2008 in calls by HCPs. Overall findings revealed the need for standardization of HT training content to assure correct information, trauma-informed and patient-centered care, and consistent messaging for HCPs. Evaluation metrics for HT training need to be developed to demonstrate behavior change and impact on service delivery and patient-centered outcomes for HT victims, according to our proposed adapted Kirkpatrick's Pyramid model. HT training and evaluation would benefit from an agency or institution at the national level to provide consistency and standardization of HT training content as well as to guide a process that would develop metrics for evaluation and the building of an evidence base.

ABBREVIATIONS: AAP: American Academy of Pediatrics; ACF: Administration for Children and Families; CME: Continuing medical education; ED: Emergency department; HCP: Health care professional; HEAL: Health, Education, Advocacy, and Linkage; HHS: United States Department of Health and Human Services; HT: Human trafficking; IOM: United States Institute of Medicine; MH: Mental health; NHTRC: National Human Trafficking Resource Center; SOAR: Stop, Observe, Ask, and Respond to Health and Wellness Training.


Reproduced with permission of Informa UK Ltd.

Training US health care professionals on human trafficking: where do we go from here?

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