240947 Meeting the health needs of human trafficking survivors

Monday, October 31, 2011: 10:30 AM

Susie Baldwin, MD, MPH , Office of Health Assessment and Epidemiology, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Victims of human trafficking and forced labor have been identified throughout the United States. While federal law provides legal protections to foreign-born survivors who meet certain criteria, many trafficking survivors struggle to integrate or reintegrate into society as they cope with the profound effects of trafficking on their physical and mental health. The deprivation, isolation, and humiliation that survivors experience, sometimes in the context of violent trauma, leave many survivors with potentially long-lasting mental and physical health issues.

Drawing on extensive clinical experience with trafficking survivors and qualitative research interviews with survivors in Los Angeles, this presentation will describe the health effects of human trafficking, including common primary care findings, reproductive health issues, and mental health concerns. Case studies will demonstrate similarities and differences between trafficking survivors and other marginalized groups of patients, including immigrants, refugees, victims of domestic violence, and sex workers.

The presentation will also describe the challenges and rewards of serving trafficking survivors, who are typically uninsured and living in or near poverty. It remains challenging to provide culturally and linguistically sensitive, trauma-informed, high quality, patient-centered care to survivors in an increasingly overwhelmed and underfunded safety net system. Collaboration between government agencies, non-profit organizations, community clinics, faith-based organizations, and volunteers is essential to adequately address the health needs of trafficking survivors in the current U.S. environment. This presentation will discuss collaborative efforts that communities can create or expand to address the health needs of trafficking survivors.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
Name common physical and mental health issues among trafficking survivors. Describe the challenges of caring for survivors in an underfunded public safety net system. Formulate strategies to foster multi-agency collaboration to support trafficking survivors in their mental and physical recovery.

Keywords: Immigrants, Access and Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a public health professional who has been providing primary care and reproductive health services to trafficked persons for five years. I have also conducted qualitative research with trafficking survivors that will be discussed in this presentation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.