271630 Role of Public Health in Combating Human Trafficking

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 9:30 AM - 9:45 AM

Jonathan Todres, JD , Center for Law, Health & Society, Georgia State University College of Law, Atlanta, GA
Human trafficking, a gross violation of human rights and human dignity, has been identified by numerous government leaders as one of the priority issues of our time. Legislative efforts over the past decade have produced a patchwork of criminal laws and some assistance programs for victims. There is little or no evidence to suggest that these measures have reduced the incidence of trafficking. This lack of meaningful progress prompts questions as to what the best framework is for addressing human trafficking. This paper begins with a discussion of the limitations inherent in the current law-enforcement-centric approach to the problem. It then explores the merits of a public health approach to human trafficking. As evidenced with governmental and community responses to issues such as road safety and smoking, public health strategies have proven successful in reducing harm by focusing on prevention and addressing underlying causes. Ultimately, this paper concludes that, although a public health approach alone is not sufficient, public health methodologies can advance anti-trafficking efforts in ways currently underutilized or not contemplated by a criminal law model, and reveal deep-seated structural challenges impeding the success of current legislative and policy initiatives designed to combat human trafficking.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain the basic legal framework on human trafficking. 2. Discuss the root causes of human trafficking. 3. Analyze the capacity of current anti-trafficking law to address the root causes of human trafficking. 4. Identify and evaluate the roles public health methodologies and public health professionals can play in combating human trafficking and related forms of exploitation.

Keywords: Human Rights, Law

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a number of years of experience conducting research on various aspects of human trafficking and advising non-governmental organizations on a variety of initiatives related to combating human trafficking. I have published a number of scholarly articles on the topic, focusing in recent years on prevention strategies. I also teach and conduct research in health law, including public health law.
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.