Increasing training for human trafficking awareness, a fight against modern-day slavery

Human trafficking as defined under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act is “The recruitment, harboring, transporting, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, slavery, or forced commercial sex acts.“

According to US Department of State there maybe as many as 27 million persons in modern-day slavery world wide. Approximately 17,000 foreign nationals are trafficked into the US every year, however, there is a large domestic component as well, with as many as 244,000 children and youth at risk of becoming victims of sexual exploitation, including commercial sexual exploitation (according to a 2001 study by the University of Pennsylvania). The vast majority of victims of human trafficking are women and children, with up to 50% of these victims being children.Due to lack of systematic methods for tracking numbers of human trafficking cases, exact numbers with in the US are difficult to estimate. Texas however, appears to be a major hub for human trafficking into the US, with as many at 1 in 5 victims passing through the state.

Even more alarming is that according to the Family Violence Prevention Fund, as many as 28% of victims in the US, passed through medical examination, undetected. This indicates that professionals are not adequately trained to recognize victims of human trafficking. To help combat this, HR bill 4449 expands training for federal government personal in issues related to human trafficking. This would amend the original law: “Trafficking Victims Protection act of 2000” which created standards for monitoring human trafficking, Increased punishment for trafficking, and increased funds for research on human trafficking. This amendment would help increase awareness of human trafficking victims, so is worthy of support. This amendment could influence changes in particular, to pediatric training to help the medical community in identifying and assisting victims of human trafficking.

For further information about how to get involved in combating human trafficking please visit:  

For information on current government programs addressing human trafficking, please visit 

For statistics on human trafficking please visit:

Current legislation: HR bill 4449 –

 Amendment to TVPA

Gabriella Lamb, MD


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