Human trafficking victims frequently present to clinicians who fail to recognize that their patients are being trafficked for sex or labor. When they do suspect a patient is trafficked, clinicians can struggle with the ethical, clinical, and legal complexities of responding to that patient’s needs and vulnerabilities. This month, the AMA Journal of Ethics features a range of perspectives on how clinicians can respond more effectively and sensitively to victims and survivors of trafficking. The issue also suggests how clinicians can work to motivate research and education about human trafficking. Additional resources in this issue include lessons for clinicians about how to identify trafficking victims, practice trauma-informed care, and assume leadership roles in promoting legislative and organizational efforts to better respond to the problem of human trafficking.
Principles of respect for autonomy, beneficence, and nonmaleficence guide trauma-informed care. Care ethics should also support this framework for responding to the health needs of trafficked patients.
AMA J Ethics. 2017;19(1):80-90. doi: