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As first-contact health professionals, PTs and PTAs need to recognize signs of human trafficking.

Human trafficking is a crime that occurs when a victim is compelled to perform labor, services, or commercial sex by force, fraud, or coercion. The harm caused by trafficking can be extensive, affecting the victim's physical and emotional health in ways that can be severe and long-lasting. APTA supports education on human trafficking throughout the physical therapy community as articulated in an APTA House of Delegates motion adopted in 2023.

As providers who are often first-contact health professionals, it's crucial for PTs and PTAs to recognize the signs of human trafficking, perform appropriate screenings, offer resources to patients who may be victims, and report when mandated. And gaining a full understanding of the issue and a provider's responsibility may also be a matter of law: Several states currently mandate continuing education on human trafficking in their licensure renewal requirements. Contact your state regulatory board to find out more.

Recommended Content

U.S. Department of Justice Human Trafficking Webpage

Nov 1, 2023 / Website

Human Trafficking Resources for Health Professionals

Nov 1, 2023 / Website

Adult Human Trafficking Screening Tool and Guide

Nov 1, 2023 / Resource

Additional Human Trafficking Content

Comprehensive Human Trafficking Assessment

Nov 1, 2023 / Website

Developed by the Human Trafficking Hotline, this assessment is designed for frontline professionals as a tool to identify and assist potential victims of both labor and sex trafficking.

National Institute of Justice Screening Tool

Nov 1, 2023 / Website

This resource, developed for the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice, includes both a comprehensive screening tool and a short version.

Screening Tools Collection From the American Academy of Pediatrics

Nov 1, 2023 / Website

The collection links to several screening tools as well as family education resources.