Addressing Lingering Medical Symptoms of Survivors with Frontline Data Collection

State and federal legislation has strengthened the fight against human trafficking and billions of dollars have been allocated across the globe to combat this modern-day form of slavery. Unfortunately, many sex and labor trafficking survivors continue in their healing journeys without receiving proper medical treatments, causing negative impacts on their quality of life. It is vital that anti-trafficking nonprofits, healthcare professionals, and government agencies take the time to listen to survivors as they identify lingering medical and trauma symptoms that need to be addressed that negatively impact their lives. As education and responses to the continuum of care for human trafficking survivors continue, it is imperative to ensure that adequate legislation, funding, and medical treatments are pursued in each state and in every country. Service providers must ensure that medical conditions experienced by trafficking survivors are identified and treated and that health insurance is attainable to treat those symptoms.

After United Against Slavery concluded our 2016 Pilot Study with survey respondents representing 47 states and 70 countries, we launched the 2018 Lingering Medical Symptom Pilot Study, with participation from 27 sex trafficking survivors in 15 states. More than 80 lingering medical ailments were identified. Survey respondents confirmed that this was not an exhaustive list of symptoms that they previously experienced or were still suffering from. The lingering medical ailments in this study reflect the extensive trauma to the body during repetitive sexual exploitation. Many symptoms reflect direct trauma to the body as a result of being abused and exploited. Survivors also listed secondary medical symptoms that resulted from not receiving proper medical treatment after they were freed from enslavement. The lingering medical symptoms collected in this 2018 Pilot Study will be included in the upcoming National Outreach Survey and will target survivors of all forms of human trafficking; anticipation is that there will be different medical symptoms experienced by sex and labor trafficking survivors and will vary by survivors in different countries.

It is vital that we engage the medical community and influential leaders to acknowledge that we have fallen short on providing adequate care to survivors of abuse, trauma, and exploitation and to listen to the voices of survivors sharing roadblocks that prevent them from becoming all that they want to become in life. Survivors of violent crimes need support to help equip and empower them to become overcomers in their healing journeys as they thrive again to pursue their hopes and dreams. We hope that the data collected in this 2018 Medical Pilot Study and in our upcoming National Outreach Survey will support local, state, and federal efforts to increase resources and support to survivors. Survivors want to thrive again and we have the power to impact lasting change for each of them.


Outline/Structure of the Interactive

  • Provide a brief overview of lingering challenges that slow down progress in the fight against human trafficking
  • Review the data collected from the United Against Slavery 2018 Lingering Medical Symptom Pilot Study
  • Identify universal barriers to providing comprehensive medical care to trafficking survivors
  • Confirm the potential impact of collecting comprehensive empirical data from frontline stakeholders and sharing that data with the anti-trafficking movement
  • The presentation will include approximately 30 minutes of education and 10 minutes Q&A

Learning Outcome

Attendees will better understand the impact that lingering medical symptoms can have on sex and labor trafficking survivors as we discuss collaborative solutions among anti-trafficking stakeholders.

Target Audience

Survivors, Healthcare Professionals, Service Providers, Social Workers, Legislators

Prerequisites for Attendees

  • Have an understanding of direct victim services for sex and labor trafficking survivors or
  • Have a desire to seek solutions to challenges that slow down progress to offering comprehensive medical care to survivors
schedule Submitted 3 years ago