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Trafficking of minors a ‘public health problem of global magnitude’ :

September 27, 2018

Editor's note:The 2018 AAP National Conference & Exhibition will take place from Nov. 2-6 in Orlando.

While the hidden nature of human trafficking makes it difficult to ascertain the number of victims, an estimated 40.3 million people are affected globally, according to a 2017 report from the International Labour Organization. Furthermore, 25% to 33% of victims are children, accounting for about four in every 1,000 children in the world.

In the U.S., 2,370 of the 7,130 victims identified in the 2017 National Human Trafficking Hotline Annual Report were minors. This may be just the tip of the iceberg, as up to 325,000 U.S. children are at risk for commercial sexual exploitation annually.

These and other statistics will set the stage for a session titled “Modern Day Slavery: Global and Local Perspectives on Human Trafficking (F1054),” which will be held from 9:30-10:15 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 3 in room W304CD of the convention center.

“We are dealing with a public health problem of global magnitude,” said Tania Condurache, M.D., M.Sc., FAAP, a member of the AAP Section on International Child Health who will lead the session. “Pediatric victims of exploitation are at risk for considerable physical and mental health problems that can affect them throughout their lives.”

As director of global health education for pediatric residents at University of Louisville School of Medicine, Dr. Condurache was part of a task force that developed educational materials for trainees on this issue. She also participated in a collaborative effort with health care providers, legal and law enforcement representatives, and community advocates to create a hospital-wide protocol to identify, treat, rescue and rehabilitate victims of human trafficking.

Since then, Dr. Condurache has kept up with the literature and is making it her mission to spread the word on how health care professionals can aid potential victims and provide anticipatory guidance to prevent vulnerable children from becoming victims.

During the session, she will provide tools pediatricians can use to identify, evaluate, treat and refer victims of sex trafficking for their long-term recovery and re-integration into society. She will discuss red flags, questions to ask when interviewing potential victims, common health problems seen in victims, multidisciplinary team approaches, and local and national resources.

She acknowledges that this work is difficult and requires a team effort.

“This is not a one encounter situation where you identify the victim and it’s a quick fix,” Dr. Condurache said. “Multidisciplinary teams face many challenges to rescue, recover and help re-integrate these children into society.”

For more coverage of the 2018 AAP National Conference & Exhibition visit http://www.aappublications.org/content/aap-national-conference-2018 and follow @AAPNews on Twitter and Facebook.

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