What is Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery. Victims are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of commercial sex or forced labor. Victims are children, teenagers, women, and men.

Human trafficking has many faces: forced or bonded labor; domestic servitude and forced marriage; organ removal; and the exploitation of children in begging, the sex trade, and warfare. However, probably due to statistical bias and national legislation, sexual exploitation (79%) is by far the most commonly identified form of trafficking in persons, followed by forced labor (18%), according to the United Nations.

Catholic and other health care organizations and their health care professionals can help victims of human trafficking by being alert to the problem and realizing patients they are treating may be victims. You can help by:

  • Raising awareness throughout your organization using educational programs, posters, and fliers
  • Asking all clinicians, especially those delivering primary and emergency services, to be alert to signs that their patients may be victims of human trafficking.
  • Adding the issue of human trafficking to all protocols and policies already in place to help victims of domestic abuse.
  • Becoming part of community-wide coalitions made up of health care and other service providers, including your local Catholic Charities agency, law enforcement agencies, and other interested groups.

Additional Information on Human Trafficking

Identifying victims

Raising awareness

Resources from CHA and other organizations