An important role for the pediatrician is to provide information and resources to prevent child trafficking and exploitation. Patient and caregiver education may take the form of informational posters, videos or brochures in the waiting room, brief anticipatory guidance involving child and/or caregiver and screening for vulnerabilities at the individual, relationship or community levels.

A medical provider or other staff member may provide brief, universal education on healthy relationships, family and dating violence, internet safety, worker rights, labor exploitation and human trafficking. Prevention measures should be offered using a trauma-informed, empowering approach, with the health professional actively soliciting opinions and suggestions from the patient and caregiver.

Pediatricians may also engage in primary prevention efforts at the community and societal levels by teaching others about child trafficking, advocating for increases in victim services and providing educational information on child exploitation to the media. You can also advocate for funding of services addressing human trafficking risk factors such as poverty, homelessness, community and family violence and substance misuse.

Taking a stand against systemic racism, homo-and transphobia, xenophobia and ethnic discrimination will help reduce the vulnerability of entire communities. Finally, consider becoming an active member of local and state anti-trafficking task forces and multidisciplinary committees, and help educate other professionals about the health care needs of trafficked children and youth while building critical relationships that allow holistic interventions for those in need.

Additional Information

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American Academy of Pediatrics