Caring for Trafficked Persons: Guidance for Health Providers

IOM, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Trafficking in Persons



Publication Type:
Manual/ Training guide

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This handbook aims to provide practical, non-clinical guidance to help concerned health providers understand the phenomenon of human  trafficking, recognize some of the health problems associated with trafficking and consider safe and appropriate approaches to providing health care for trafficked persons. It outlines the health provider’s role in providing care and describes some of the limitations of his or her responsibility to assist.

For many trafficked persons, the physical and psychological aftermath of a trafficking experience can be severe and enduring. Health providers may come into contact with victims of trafficking at different stages of the trafficking process and at different stages of their recovery. For health practitioners, diagnosing and treating trafficked persons can be exceptionally challenging. The informed and attentive health care provider can play an important role in assisting and treating individuals who may have suffered unspeakable and repeated abuse. Caring for Trafficked Persons brings together the collective experience of a broad range of experts from international organizations, universities and civil society in addressing the consequences of human trafficking. Developed with the support of the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking, and led by IOM and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the handbook gives practical, non-clinical advice to help a concerned health provider understand the phenomenon of human trafficking, recognize some of the associated health problems and consider safe and appropriate approaches to providing healthcare for trafficked persons.
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Human trafficking
  • Chapter 2: The health consequences of human trafficking
  • Chapter 3: Guiding principles
  • Action Sheet 1: Trauma-informed care
  • Action Sheet 2: Culturally appropriate, individualized care
  • Action Sheet 3: Working with interpreters
  • Action Sheet 4: Comprehensive health assessment
  • Action Sheet 5: Special considerations when examining children and adolescents
  • Action Sheet 6: What to do if you suspect trafficking
  • Action Sheet 7: Protection and security
  • Action Sheet 8: Self-care
  • Action Sheet 9: Patient data and files
  • Action Sheet 10: Safe referrals
  • Action Sheet 11: Urgent care
  • Action Sheet 12: Mental health care
  • Action Sheet 13: Sexual and reproductive health
  • Action Sheet 14: Disability
  • Action Sheet 15: Infectious diseases
  • Action Sheet 16: Medico-legal considerations
  • Action Sheet 17: Interactions with law enforcement
  • Conclusion
Cathy Zimmerman, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Rosilyne Borland, IOM
This essential tool is available in additional languages: Armenian, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, and Portuguese.


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