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Human Trafficking: The Texas Requirement

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CE1028 | Contact Hours: 2


The purpose of this course is to educate healthcare professionals in recognizing the signs of a human trafficking victim and the process for safely intervening in these circumstances. Upon completion of this course, the healthcare professional will be able to:

1. Understand the different elements and types of human trafficking, the typical settings in which human trafficking occurs, and potential risk factors for human trafficking.
2. Identify the signs of a human trafficking victim and their commonly treated health conditions within the healthcare setting.
3. Utilize evidence based screening tools to help identify a human trafficking victim.
4. Describe the possible profiles for human traffickers and their recruitment techniques.
5. Describe subsequent protocols to be implemented after a positive identification, such as safety planning, patient resources and appropriate reporting methods.
6. Understand the healthcare professional’s role in identifying survivors of trafficking along with their responsibility in necessary referrals and collaborative care.






Sara Hilgenberg, LPN


All learners must complete the entire activity and complete the evaluation to receive contact hours.


This course was approved by Texas Health and Human Services and fulfills the Texas requirement for education on human trafficking prevention.


No one with the ability to control content of this activity has a relevant financial relationship with an ineligible company.


Human trafficking is not only a horrendous crime, but is abuse of fundamental human rights and a major public health problem. Based on research from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, human trafficking is listed as the fastest growing criminal industry in the world today. Upwards of 199,000 individual human trafficking incidents occur in the United States annually, and in 2019 the U.S. had 11,500 human trafficking cases reported (1). These numbers are only small representations as human trafficking is a crime that is exceptionally difficult to track due to its vastly secretive nature. Moreover, victims are very reluctant to try to come forward. It is estimated that over 80% of victims will seek medical attention during their first year of being trafficked, most often while maintaining captivity (1). Healthcare professionals are therefore in a vital position to be able to intervene. A healthcare professional can make a difference in the lives of trafficking victims at several points, from the initial encounter and identification to their rescue and restoration of health. Unfortunately, research has shown that nurses typically fail to recognize the common signs and symptoms of trafficked victims because of lack of experience, knowledge, or having preexisting assumptions (2). The ability to intervene and stop further trafficking from occurring has now become a crucial task for the healthcare professional and will be further examined in this activity.


1. Texas Abuse Hotline: 1-800-252-5400. The hotline operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. for non-emergent situations

2. National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888 (TTY: 711) OR TEXT 233733

3. National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center:

4. State Agencies and Organizations That Combat Child Sex Trafficking and Exploitation:

5. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children:

6. Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas:

7. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

8. SOAR (Stop, Observe, Ask, Respond) trainings are delivered in-person (customized live sessions) or online (customized virtual sessions or standardized, on-demand, and pre-recorded content). Training is available in English and Spanish.


1. Human Trafficking Statistics by State 2022. Available at Updated 2022. Accessed May 14, 2022.

2. Sangha, Manjit Rani DNP, MBA, RN; Birkholz, Lorri DNP, RN, NE-BC Nurses' Ability to Identify Human Trafficking Victims, Journal for Nurses in Professional Development: Volume - Issue - doi: 10.1097/NND.0000000000000798. Published October 7, 2021. Accessed May 14, 2022.

3. Human Trafficking Defined. The United States Department of Justice. Available at Updated January 7, 2016. Accessed May 14, 2022.

4. Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. H.R.3244. Available at Accessed September 16, 2022.

5. National Institute of Justice. Gaps in Reporting Human Trafficking Incidents Result in Significant Undercounting. Available at Published August 4, 2020. Accessed June 27, 2022.

6. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Human Trafficking Data Collection Activities, 2021. Available at Published October 28, 2021. Accessed July 1, 2022.

7. Analysis of 2020 National Human Trafficking Hotline Data. Available at Accessed July 1, 2022.

8. About Human Trafficking. Available at Accessed June 28, 2022.

9. Tammy J. Toney-Butler; Megan Ladd., et al. Human Trafficking. Available at Updated April 30, 202. Accessed June 3, 2022.

10. Recognizing a Human Trafficking Victim or a Perpetrator. Available at Accessed June 27, 2022.

11. National Human Trafficking Hotline: The Traffickers. Available at Accessed July 1, 2022.

12. Introduction to Human Trafficking: A Guide for Texas Education Professionals. Texas Human Trafficking Task Force. Available at Published July 2014. Accessed July 2, 2022.

13. Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Statewide Intake: Texas Youth Helpline Contacts. Available at Accessed July 2, 2022.

14. Resources: Common Health Issues Seen in Victims of Human Trafficking. Available at Accessed June 1 2022.

15. Recognizing and Responding to Human Trafficking in a Healthcare Context. Available at Published October, 2012. Updated February, 2016. Accessed July 5, 2022.

16. An Introduction to Human Trafficking: Vulnerability, Impact, Action. Available at Published 2008. Accessed July 5, 2022.

17. Human Trafficking Task Force e-Guide. Mental Health Needs. Available at Accessed July 5, 2022.

18. Hossain M, Zimmerman C, Abas M, Light M, Watts C. The Relationship of Trauma to Mental Disorders Among Trafficked and Sexually Exploited Girls and Women. Am J Public Health. Dec;100(12):2442-9. Available at Published October 21, 2010. Accessed September 16, 2022.

19. Strategic Plan: Charting an End to Human Trafficking in Texas. Available at Published May 2020. Accessed September 16, 2022.

20. Identifying Victims of Human Trafficking: What to Look for in a Healthcare Setting. Available at Updated February 2016. Accessed July 5, 2022.

21. Adult Human Trafficking Screening Tool and Guide. National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center. Available at Published January 2018. Accessed September 16, 2022.

22. Baldwin S, Barrows J, Stoklosa H. Protocol Toolkit for Developing a Response to Victims of Human Trafficking in Health Care Settings. Available at Accessed September 16, 2022.

23. Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights. Implementing a Trauma-Informed Approach. Available at Published June 2018. Accessed September 16, 2022.

24. Trauma-Informed Approach and Trauma-Specific Interventions. Available at Updated November 12, 2015. Accessed July 5, 2022.

25. The Joint Commission. Quick Safety 42: Identifying Human Trafficking Victims. Available at Published June 18, 2018. Accessed June 12, 2022.

26. Sheri-Ann O. Kaltiso MD,V. Jordan Greenbaum MD, et al. Evaluation of a Screening Tool for Child Sex Trafficking Among Patients With High-Risk Chief Complaints in a Pediatric Emergency Department. Available at Published October 31, 2018. Accessed June 27, 2022.

27. Brown AC, Barron CE. Human trafficking. Pediatric Rev. 2018;39(2):102-103. Irene; Denise C. Abdoo, PhD, CPNP; et al. Confidential Screening for Sex Trafficking Among Minors in a Pediatric Emergency Department. Available at March 1, 2021. Accessed July 5, 2022.

28. Human Resources Code Title 2 Subtitle D Chapter 48. Available at,protective%20services%20to%20that%20person. Accessed September 16, 2022.

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