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Concept: Human trafficking


To investigate physical and mental health and experiences of violence among male and female trafficking survivors in a high-income country.

Concepts: Human trafficking, Reproduction, Female, Male, Human


(1) To estimate the proportion of National Health Service (NHS) professionals who have come into contact with trafficked people and (2) to measure NHS professionals' knowledge and confidence to respond to human trafficking.

Concepts: Health, Human trafficking, National Health Service


Child commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking are global health problems requiring a multidisciplinary approach by individuals, organizations, communities, and national governments. The adverse emotional, physical, and social consequences for victims are legion and in many areas of the United States and the rest of the world, victim resources are scarce. Since violence, deprivation, abuse, and infection are so integral to the exploitation experience, victims may present for care to community and academic pediatric and adolescent health care providers. It is essential that medical professionals have the knowledge, skills, and resources to recognize victims, assess their needs, and treat them appropriately, including making key referrals for community services. However, to date medical information and resources regarding commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking has been sparse. There are no clinically validated screening tools specifically designed to identify victims in the health care setting and since victims seldom self-identify, it is likely that the majority of victims are unrecognized. The opportunity for comprehensive assessment and intervention is lost. Further, professionals receive little training on appropriate interview techniques for this special population, and many are ill equipped to ensure safety and optimal medical evaluation during the visit. This article provides a general overview of child sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation (CSEC), describing the epidemiology of international and domestic exploitation, and reviewing the challenges of conducting research on this population. The five stages of trafficking are explained, as are typical physical and emotional consequences of exploitation. The medical evaluation is described, including potential indicators of CSEC and sex trafficking, common medical presentations by victims, approaches to the comprehensive medical interview, and the appropriate medical exam with diagnostic testing and treatment. Finally, a discussion of common victim needs is provided, with a description of resources and referrals.

Concepts: Illness, Health, Health care provider, Medicine, Healthcare, Commercial sexual exploitation of children, Human trafficking, Health care


In this article, I analyze the practices of a group of Catholic nuns who run shelters for ‘victims of human trafficking’ in Italy, and are thus involved in state-funded rehabilitation programs for former foreign prostitutes. This case shows how the state and the Church are deeply implicated in each other’s projects of redemption and the creation of new forms of life. In Italy, the legal model for rehabilitating foreign prostitutes is avowedly secular yet also deeply shaped by a Catholic impetus to purify sinners. At the same time, however, the nuns themselves develop an understanding of redemption as a secular life-saving project in line with the state’s project of recognition, and thus inscribe their practices within the biopolitical effort to transform lives. Ultimately, I argue, leading by example becomes a specific Catholic instantiation of biopolitics that characterizes both the state’s and the Church’s approach to foreigners.

Concepts: Project, Biopolitics, State, Christianity, Catholic Church, Nun, Human trafficking, Christian terms


Forensic DNA methodologies have potential applications in the investigation of human trafficking cases. DNA and relationship testing may be useful for confirmation of biological relationship claims in immigration, identification of trafficked individuals who are missing persons, and family reunification of displaced individuals after mass disasters and conflicts. As these applications rely on the collection of DNA from non-criminals and potentially vulnerable individuals, questions arise as to how to address the ethical challenges of collection, security, and privacy of collected samples and DNA profiles. We administered a survey targeted to victims' advocates to gain preliminary understanding of perspectives regarding human trafficking definitions, DNA and sex workers, and perceived trust of authorities potentially involved in DNA collection. We asked respondents to consider the use of DNA for investigating adoption fraud, sex trafficking, and post-conflict child soldier cases. We found some key differences in perspectives on defining what qualifies as “trafficking.” When we varied terminology between “sex worker” and “sex trafficking victim” we detected differences in perception on which authorities can be trusted. Respondents were supportive of the hypothetical models proposed to collect DNA. Most were favorable of DNA specimens being controlled by an authority outside of law enforcement. Participants voiced concerns focused on privacy, misuse of DNA samples and data, unintentional harms, data security, and infrastructure. These preliminary data indicate that while there is perceived value in programs to use DNA for investigating cases of human trafficking, these programs may need to consider levels of trust in authorities as their logistics are developed and implemented.

Concepts: Trafficking, Slavery, Biology, Smuggling, DNA profiling, Sex industry, Human trafficking, Prostitution


Men comprise nearly two-thirds of trafficked and forced labourers in common low-skilled labour sectors including fishing, agriculture and factory work. Yet, most evidence on human trafficking has focused on women and girls trafficked for sex work, with scant research on trafficked men and boys.

Concepts: Girl, Woman, Boy, Prostitution, Human, Male, Human trafficking, Female


V. Jordan Greenbaum discusses ways healthcare providers can identify children trafficked for sex to provide for their physical and mental health and their social and educational needs.

Concepts: Healthcare, Childhood, Barack Obama, Massachusetts, Health care, United States, Health care provider, Human trafficking


Modern slavery is less overt than historical state-sanctioned slavery because psychological abuse is typically used to recruit and then control victims. The recent UK Draft Modern Slavery Bill, and current UK government anti-slavery strategy relies heavily on a shared understanding and public cooperation to tackle this crime. Yet, UK research investigating public understanding of modern slavery is elusive. We report community survey data from 682 residents of the Midlands of England, where modern slavery is known to occur, concerning their understanding of nonphysical coercion and human trafficking (one particular form of modern slavery). Analysis of quantitative data and themed categorization of qualitative data revealed a mismatch between theoretical frameworks and understanding of psychological coercion, and misconceptions concerning the nature of human trafficking. Many respondents did not understand psychological coercion, believed that human trafficking did not affect them, and confused trafficking with immigration. The public are one of the most influential interest groups, but only if well informed and motivated towards positive action. Our findings suggest the need for strategically targeted public knowledge exchange concerning this crime.

Concepts: Coventry, Abuse, Anti-Slavery International, British Empire, Psychology, Human trafficking, Knowledge, Quantitative research


In sexual assault cases, particularly those involving internal child sex trafficking (ICST), victims often hide their semen-stained clothing. This can result in a lag time of several months before the items are laundered and subsequently seized during a criminal investigation. Although it has been demonstrated previously that DNA can be recovered from clothing washed immediately after semen deposition, laundered items of clothing are not routinely examined in ICST cases, due to the assumption that the time delay and washing would result in no detectable DNA. The aim of this study was to examine whether viable DNA profiles could be recovered from laundered semen stains where there has been a significant lag time between semen deposition from one or more individuals and one or more washes of the stained clothing. Items of UK school uniform (T-shirts, trousers, tights) were stained with fresh semen (either from a single donor or a 1:1 mixture from two donors) and stored in a wardrobe for eight months. Stained and unstained items (socks) were then washed at 30°C or 60°C and with non-biological or biological detergent. DNA samples extracted from the semen-stained sites and from the unstained socks were quantified and profiled. High quantities of DNA, (6-18μg) matching the DNA profiles of the semen donors, were recovered from all semen-stained clothing that had been laundered once, irrespective of wash conditions. This quantity,and profile quality,did not decline significantly with multiple washes. The two donor semen samples yielded ∼10-fold more DNA from the T-shirts than from the trousers. This disparity resulted in the T-shirts yielding a ∼1:1 mixture of DNA from the two donors, whereas the trousers yielded a major DNA profile matching only that of the second donor. The quantities of DNA recovered from the unstained socks were an order of magnitude lower, with most of the DNA being attributable to the donor of the semen on the stained clothing within the same wash, demonstrating the transfer of semen-derived DNA among items of clothing in the washing machine. This study demonstrates that complete DNA profiles can be obtained from laundered semen stains on school uniform-type clothing, with an eight-month lag time between semen deposition and laundering, despite multiple washes and stains from two semen donors. These data emphasise the need to recover and examine the clothing of victims for semen and DNA evidence, even if the clothing has been stored for several months or washed multiple times since the sexual offence took place.

Concepts: Human trafficking, Washing, Human sexual behavior, Laundry, Clothing, DNA profiling, DNA, WASH


Child trafficking is the recruitment and movement of people aged younger than 18 for the purposes of exploitation. Research on the mental health of trafficked children is limited, and little is known about the use of mental health services by this group. This study aimed to investigate the mental health and service use characteristics of trafficked children in contact with mental health services in England.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Psychology, Social sciences, Mental health, Human trafficking, Clinical trial