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Human Trafficking and Health Care Providers: Legal Requirements for Reporting and Education

The majority of trafficked persons in the United States access health care at some point during their exploitation. Health care providers who treat victims of human trafficking are subject to a patchwork of sometimes inconsistent laws regarding their reporting obligations. Which patients should or must be reported and to whom vary from state to state and are often not congruent with federal law obligations. In addition, an increasing number of states impose education requirements for health care providers related to human trafficking. 

As part of the American Hospital Association's Hospitals Against Violence initiative, the AHA, Jones Day, and HEAL Trafficking have come together to provide resources to health care providers across the nation who are fighting the global scourge of human trafficking. To support that initiative, Jones Day has prepared the attached tool to help providers navigate the complex roadmap of their reporting and education obligations. With the increased role of telehealth and multistate practitioners, the need for this type of resource is growing. 

The tool covers, for the federal government and each of the 50 United States, a summary of the applicable laws on the following topics: reporting of child abuse; reporting of sex and/or labor trafficking; and required regulation of anti-trafficking education of health care providers. 

The attached tool outlines the federal and state statutes and corresponding regulations for mandatory reporting and education requirements for health care providers. The tool does not address the many other considerations for medical professionals regarding trafficking, including confidentiality, decision-making capacity of trafficking victims, and appropriate protocols for care of the victim. 

The law in this area is rapidly evolving. Jones Day may consider making periodic updates of the tool, but health care providers should always verify the current state of applicable laws before acting on this information.

Read the tool.

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