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Human Trafficking for the Correctional Nurse

Involving the use of fraud, coercion or force to obtain some type of labor or sex act, human trafficking can occur anywhere, including the United States.  Worldwide, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked every day.  Victims can be any nationality, race, gender, or age.  Traffickers might use false promises of romance or well-paying jobs  to entice victims into trafficking situations, manipulation or violence. It is commonly regarded as the second largest criminal enterprise after drugs.

Language barriers, fear of their traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement frequently keep victims from seeking help, making human trafficking a hidden crime.

While correctional nurses typically do not interview patients on intake or during clinic with anyone who came with them (and who therefore may discourage the patient from full disclosure) like nurses in an emergency department might do, we must still be very diligent in assessing whether our patient may be a victim of human trafficking.  Thus, this topic is relevant and important in our practice as correctional nurses.