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AMA J Ethics. 2017 Jan 1;19(1):80-90. doi: 10.1001/journalofethics.2017.19.1.msoc2-1701.

Caring for the Trafficked Patient: Ethical Challenges and Recommendations for Health Care Professionals.

Author information

1
Board-certified emergency physician at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, and a faculty member in the MGH Department of Emergency Medicine's Division of Global Health & Human Rights, and co-founding director of the Human Trafficking Initiative, and founding medical and executive director of the MGH Freedom Clinic, an innovative primary care clinic that provides comprehensive health care for human trafficking survivors, and an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Abstract

Human trafficking is an egregious human rights violation with profound negative physical and psychological consequences, including communicable diseases, substance use disorders, and mental illnesses. The health needs of this population are multiple, complex, and influenced by past and present experiences of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Effective health care services for trafficked patients require clinicians to consider individual patients' needs, wishes, goals, priorities, risks, and vulnerabilities as well as public health implications and even resource allocation. Applying the bioethical principles of respect for autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, and justice, this article considers the ethics of care model as a trauma-informed framework for providing health care to human trafficking victims and survivors.

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