Front of the School of Public Health

Human Trafficking: A Public Health Perspective on a Human Rights Issue

Originally presented on November 21, 2013

Lauren Pesso, LMSW, MPA
Director of the Human Trafficking Program
My Sisters' Place

Christa M. Stewart, Esq.
Coordinator, NYS Human Trafficking and Unaccompanied Children Programs
Bureau of Refugee & Immigrant Assistance/OTDA

Human trafficking has often been referred to as “modern day slavery.”  The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 defines human trafficking as recruiting, abducting, facilitating, transferring, harboring, or transporting a person, by threat or use of force, fraud or coercion, for the purpose of subjecting that person to involuntary servitude, peonage, slavery, slave-like practices, commercial sex, or forced or bonded labor services.  According to federal law, any person under the age of 18 years old induced to perform a commercial sex act is considered a victim of human trafficking, whether force, fraud or coercion are present or not.1
Victims of human trafficking often suffer from a variety of health issues including malnourishment, STIs and other gynecological issues, exposure to communicable diseases, chronic conditions including vision, back, hearing, and respiratory problems, dental issues, and a host of disorders related to psychological trauma. 
Unfortunately, victims of human trafficking frequently remain unnoticed or unassisted.  This webcast will provide the public health workforce with an overview of human trafficking as well as insights on how to detect it and what actions to take if there is suspicion of trafficking.  Further, this webcast will examine the myriad health implications of human trafficking and address additional concerns for special populations.

  1. Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), Public Law 106-386 22 United States Code, § 7102(8)

Program Objectives
After watching this broadcast participants will be able to:

  • Describe the impact of human trafficking on public health and wellbeing of victims;
  • Discern situations in the local community that may indicate human trafficking;
  • Identify populations that are at higher risk for victimization;
  • Formulate a plan of action to be taken when human trafficking is suspected.