N 490 Module 7 Discussion: Violence in Healthcare

Violence in Healthcare (Discussion)

Since the early 2000s, human trafficking has been considered a major issue of concern worldwide. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reports that an estimated 2.4 million people are currently victims of human trafficking, with women and girls accounting for 71% of all victims (Donahue et al., 2019). Human trafficking is defined as the recruitment, transport, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by means of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, or force for the purpose of exploitation.2 Exploitation includes cases of prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services such as domestic work, debt bondage related to migrant work, forced marriage etc.

Human trafficking should be considered when analyzing violence in healthcare for a number of reasons. First, victims of human trafficking often experience violence at the hands of their traffickers. This can include physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Second, human trafficking: means that individuals are being treated as commodities and are being bought and sold against their will. This is a form of violence in and of itself. Finally, victims of human trafficking often end up in the healthcare system as a result of the violence they have suffered (Stoklosa et al., 2020). They may need medical attention for injuries sustained from abuse or may require mental health services to cope with the trauma they have experienced. Considering all of these factors, it is clear that human trafficking should be given consideration when discussing violence in healthcare.

As a nurse, one of our roles is to help identify victims of human trafficking. This includes understanding the signs and symptoms associated with human trafficking, so that we can provide appropriate interventions. Signs that someone may be a victim of human trafficking include: -Anxiousness, fearfulness, or depression, and -Appearing disconnected. Healthcare providers have a significant role of talking to the patients to understand their situation and to determine possible signs that a victim was involved in human trafficking. Some other symptoms to look for include: -the victim appearing to be under the control of another person, -having bruises or other injuries which may have been inflicted by a trafficker, -being unable to produce identification documents or travel papers, -being reluctant to discuss their personal life or circumstances with others, -not having knowledge of their whereabouts; and/or -working in conditions that are possibly hazardous or unhealthy. 

In order to provide the best possible care to victims of human trafficking, healthcare providers should keep the following interventions in mind: Firstly, it is important to ensure that all victims have access to comprehensive and continuous medical care. This means providing not only emergency care, but also follow-up care and addressing any ongoing health issues. It is also essential to provide psychological support, as many victims of human trafficking experience PTSD and other mental health problems. Secondly, safe housing and shelter are crucial for victims of human trafficking (Cummings, 2020). Many shelters specifically cater to trafficking survivors, and can provide a much-needed sense of safety and stability. It is also important to connect victims with legal services, as they may need help with immigration or the police service.

In summary, human trafficking is a global phenomenon that affects millions of people around the world. Healthcare professionals play a crucial role in identification and care of victims of human trafficking. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines human trafficking as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or position of vulnerability or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim, for the purpose of exploitation.” Exploitation can take many forms, including forced labor, domestic servitude, sexual exploitation and organ removal. Victims of human trafficking often experience multiple physical and psychological health problems and as a result, they require specialized attention from healthcare professionals who should be able to read signs and symptoms and provide appropriate treatment.


Cummings, K. A. (2020). An Educational Intervention to Increase Emergency Department Nurse’s Knowledge and Confidence in Recognizing Victims of Human Trafficking. https://epublications.regis.edu/theses/982/

Donahue, S., Schwien, M., & LaVallee, D. (2019). Educating emergency department staff on the identification and treatment of human trafficking victims. Journal of emergency nursing45(1), 16-23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jen.2018.03.021

Stoklosa, H., Miller, C. L., Duke, G., & Chisolm-Straker, M. (2020). A framework for the development of healthcare provider education programs on human trafficking part one: experts. Journal of human trafficking6(4), 388-409. https://doi.org/10.1080/23322705.2019.1584724

N 490 Module 7 Discussion

When looking at violence in healthcare, human trafficking is an essential topic to discuss as healthcare providers. However, many nurses come in contact with a victim yet are not knowledgeable on the signs to look for and actions to take. Discuss what your role is as a nurse in realizing the signs and what interventions are necessary.