Sex Trafficked and Missed

  • Wendy J. Barnes
  • Holly Austin GibbsEmail author


A survivor case study demonstrates how health care professionals miss opportunities to identify and respond to persons who may be trafficked. This oversight occurs because medical professionals and health care systems often lack the education and tools needed for an appropriate and effective response. All staff in a health care system should receive basic education on sex and labor trafficking, including legal definitions, descriptions of vulnerable populations, red flags in the health care setting, and survivor stories to facilitate understanding of trafficked persons’ perspectives and vulnerabilities. Extended education should address trauma-informed care as well as potential ways to engage patients and internal protocols. Curriculum modules developed at Dignity Health, one of the nation’s largest health systems, serve as examples of education for medical staff.


Patient-centered care Trauma-informed care Victim-centered care Survivor stories Pimp Human trafficking Sex trafficking Health care Mental health Psychiatry Emergency medicine Gynecology Holly Smith Wendy Barnes Medical professionals 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dignity HealthSan FranciscoUSA

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