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Identifying Human Trafficking Victims

Identifying Human Trafficking Victims



Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world and is the second-largest source of income for organized crime. Human trafficking has been reported in every single state in the United States. 


In 2018, Polaris worked on 10,949 cases of human trafficking reported to the Polaris-operated U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline. These cases involved 23,078 individual survivors: nearly 5,859 potential traffickers and 1,905 trafficking businesses. Human trafficking is notoriously underreported. Shocking as these numbers are, they are likely only a fraction of the actual problem.


According to the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the most common form of human trafficking (79%) is sexual exploitation. The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls. Surprisingly, in 30% of the countries which provided information on the gender of traffickers, women make up the largest proportion of traffickers. In some parts of the world, women trafficking women is the norm.


The second most common form of human trafficking is forced labor (18%). Worldwide, almost 20% of all trafficking victims are children. However, in some parts of Africa, children are the majority (up to 100% in parts of West Africa).


The report goes on to state that although trafficking seems to imply people moving across continents, most exploitation takes place close to home. Data show intra-regional and domestic trafficking are the major forms of trafficking in persons.


As a healthcare professional it is highly likely that you will encounter a human trafficking victim in your organization. Understanding how to identify victims and how to access help and resources is important for all health care professionals. 


In recognition of Patient Safety Awareness Week, please download a free policy and procedure from MCN Healthcare, addressing Identification and Reporting of Human Trafficking.


Additional Information:


One of MCN Foundation’s projects is STOP.  STOP is a non-profit located in Delhi, India that focuses on the eradication of trafficking and oppression against women and children. STOP conducts rescue operations for the victims followed by providing safe accommodations, trauma counseling services, medical assistance and legal aid for the victims. STOP takes it a step further with self-help groups to empower and assist the survivors in gaining access to employment opportunities. Their goal is to advocate for a safe environment and educate for a self-reliant society; making women more vigilant and to break the supply channel of human trafficking at the grass-root level of vulnerable migrant majority areas. MCN Foundation has teamed up with STOP to help with their cause and to advocate and act to eradicate human trafficking. Please go to for more information






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