For decades, the response to sex trafficking has largely fallen under the jurisdiction of law enforcement and the criminal justice system. While other crimes of violence have been reframed as public health issues, this has not been the case for human trafficking. As a result, thousands to tens of thousands of sex-trafficked patients are rapidly falling through the cracks of the healthcare system, never receiving the care or resources they truly need.
Even so, in the last few years, many providers and survivor-activists across the country have begun to address sex trafficking from a public health perspective. From developing standardized hospital protocol to adapting medical residency curricula, they are training future generations of doctors, nurses, and social workers to assist victims of trafficking and help end the cycle of violence.