Answer B. Incoherent and illogical.
Although it is estimated that up to 50% of victims will see a health care professional while in captivity, frequently there is no intervention or assessment.6,7 Moreover, only about 40% of health care professionals have received any information, education, or training about human trafficking.8
It may be difficult to determine whether the victim is being held against his or her will. When victims are seen by a health care professional, they are frequently accompanied by their abuser. The victim may be afraid and intimidated, or she may be extremely defensive, loud, and uncooperative. It is important to distinguish her behavior with and without her pimp.
When assessing the patient, be aware that in the presence of the abuser—who will often try to speak for the patient—the victim may appear depressed, anxious, fearful, or submissive. There is likely to be poor eye contact and a scripted robotic story. When you ask for clarification, the narrative will often become incoherent. She may dissociate, become confused, and have poor concentration and a short attention span. Frequently, a victim will be unable to give a coherent history.
For more on this topic, see Recognizing and Treating Victims and Survivors of Human Trafficking, on which this quiz was based.
1. Stevens M, Berishai K. The anatomy of human trafficking: learning about the blues. J Forensic Nurs. 2016;12:49-56.
2. Becker HJ, Bechtel KI. Recognizing victims of human trafficking in the pediatric emergency department. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2015;31:144-147.
3. Beck ME, Lineer MM, Melzer-Lange M, et al. Medical providers’ understanding of sex trafficking and their experience with at-risk patients. Pediatrics. 2015;135:e895-e902