HealthDay News — In a policy statement published in Pediatrics, recommendations are presented for healthcare professionals to help prevent child trafficking, recognize victims, and intervene appropriately.

Jordan Greenbaum, MD, from the Stephanie V. Blank Center for Safe and Healthy Children at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and Nia Bodrick, MD, MPH, from Unity Health Care Inc. in Washington, DC, developed the policy statement to address child trafficking prevention, identification, and intervention.

The researchers note that healthcare professionals need training in order to recognize signs of exploitation and intervene appropriately. The recommendations include development of public policy, supporting legislation and policies such as accessing services for victims, facilitating primary prevention through education, supporting efforts to address the social determinants of health, which may influence vulnerability to trafficking, and working with other medical organizations to facilitate a public health approach to human trafficking. More research is needed on child trafficking, including identification of risk factors, estimating prevalence, and exploring health consequences and outcomes. Healthcare professionals should be encouraged to develop and test referral mechanisms, including working with nonmedical professionals in the community, to facilitate connection of victims with appropriate service providers. In addition, healthcare professionals should be included as members of multidisciplinary teams combatting human trafficking.

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“This policy statement outlines major issues regarding public policy, medical education, research, and collaboration in the area of child labor and sex trafficking and provides recommendations for future work,” the authors write.

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Greenbaum J, Bodrick N; Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect. Global human trafficking and child victimization [published online November 27, 2017]. Pediatrics. doi:10.1542/peds.2017-3138