Wendy Macias-Konstantopoulos, MD, MPH
Acknowledgment: The author thanks colleagues at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and external collaborators in antitrafficking work for their ongoing support.
Grant Support: By the Partnership for Freedom 2014 Reimagine Opportunity Innovations Challenge Award (for Dr. Macias-Konstantopoulos' work with the MGH Freedom Clinic and the MGH Human Trafficking Initiative [Boston, Massachusetts]). Led by Humanity United (San Francisco, California) and the U.S. Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, State, and Labor (Washington, DC), the Partnership for Freedom is a public–private partnership dedicated to promoting innovative solutions to end modern-day slavery.
Disclosures: Dr. Macias-Konstantopoulos reports grants from the Partnership for Freedom Reimagine Opportunity Innovations Challenge outside the submitted work. Disclosures can also be viewed at www.acponline.org/authors/icmje/ConflictOfInterestForms.do?msNum=M16-0094.
Requests for Single Reprints: Wendy Macias-Konstantopoulos, MD, MPH, Division of Global Health and Human Rights, Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, 125 Nashua Street, Suite 910, Boston, MA 02114; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author Contributions: Conception and design: W. Macias-Konstantopoulos.
Drafting of the article: W. Macias-Konstantopoulos.
Critical revision of the article for important intellectual content: W. Macias-Konstantopoulos.
Final approval of the article: W. Macias-Konstantopoulos.
Collection and assembly of data: W. Macias-Konstantopoulos.
Human trafficking, a form of modern slavery, is an egregious violation of human rights with profound personal and public health implications. It includes forced labor and sexual exploitation of both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens and has been reported in all 50 states. Victims of human trafficking are currently among the most abused and disenfranchised persons in society, and they face a wide range of negative health outcomes resulting from their subjugation and exploitation.
Medicine has an important role to play in mitigating the devastating effects of human trafficking on individuals and society. Victims are cared for in emergency departments, primary care offices, urgent care centers, community health clinics, and reproductive health clinics. In addition, they are unknowingly being treated in hospital inpatient units. Injuries and illnesses requiring medical attention thus represent unique windows of opportunity for trafficked persons to receive assistance from trusted health care professionals.
With education and training, health care providers can recognize signs and symptoms of trafficking, provide trauma-informed care to this vulnerable population, and respond to exploited persons who are interested and ready to receive assistance. Multidisciplinary response protocols, research, and policy advocacy can enhance the impact of antitrafficking health care efforts to interrupt the cycle of abuse and violence for these victims.
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Macias-Konstantopoulos W. Human Trafficking: The Role of Medicine in Interrupting the Cycle of Abuse and Violence. Ann Intern Med. 2016;165:582-588. doi: 10.7326/M16-0094
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2016;165(8):582-588.
Published at www.annals.org on 9 August 2016
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