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Healthcare Subcommittee

Pillar 3: Screening and Implementation

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About the Screening and Implementation Pillar

Screening implementation is a necessary and critical component in identifying those being exploited and those who may be at risk. Due to multiple barriers, many survivors may not self-identify or readily disclose information, and with the current lack of education, healthcare providers may be unaware of exploitation and trafficking presentation. Implementing a trauma-informed screening protocol is essential in a comprehensive anti-trafficking approach to provide adequate medical and mental health services, reduce repeat victimization, and improve healthcare outcomes. It is vital to use a screening tool specific to the population served and for providers to be trained in a trauma-informed approach, which includes providing a safe space and maintaining personal awareness of their biases, facial expressions, and body language throughout the delivery of care. Screening is not a checklist of questions to ask but instead a guide to a conversation between a patient and their medical provider. It should open a safe space to discuss the topics of personal risk, violence, trauma, exploitation, injury, mental health and how to receive support and services if interested at that time or in the future.

The World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and medical professional associations call for healthcare professionals to utilize a trauma-informed approach to screen for trafficking and implement appropriate care. Healthcare professionals rely on screening tools that are easy to administer, valid, and reliable. To date, there is no universal consensus on a gold standard screening tool to identify trafficked persons or persons at-risk of being trafficked. The research is ongoing. In addition, many organizations have implemented response protocols utilizing trauma informed care practices. Protocol evaluation continues to be an area of ongoing research as well.


Training staff in trafficking, identification, and trauma informed care is a critical first step in decreasing barriers to care. Signs of judgment or disapproval from the provider may cause distrust, re-traumatization, and further increase barriers to discloser. The PEARR tool is a validated resource that can assist providers in implementing trauma-informed care. As you build your capacity to serve trafficked persons, it is equally important to evaluate the effectiveness of your response. In addition, we encourage your healthcare system to meaningfully andsubstantially include survivors into your design and implementation of screening and response tools.

Navigating Your Healthcare's System: Essential Tools and Resources


ReVEST Medical Experts VEST screening 12+ sex trafficking, labor trafficking, dating violence, and high-risk behaviors



CSE-IT, 10-24+, for use by any provider serving youth, including child welfare workers, probation officers, mental health clinicians, and first responders. 


VERA: Ages 13+; sex trafficking and labor trafficking human trafficking identification tool and user guidelines


The Child Sex Trafficking (CST) Screening Tool was developed as a short screening tool to identify victims ages 11-17 in a healthcare setting and one of the first tools evaluated in a healthcare setting.

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