ICD-10-CM Coding for Human Trafficking in Healthcare Institutions

The healthcare system plays a fundamental role in human trafficking identification as
well as on going survivor support. According to reports, many enter the healthcare
system at some point during their process of exploitation. These scenarios are critical
opportunities that are missed if healthcare staff are not equipped to identify victims of

ICD-10-CM abuse codes are used for differentiating victims of human trafficking from
other victims of abuse. The ICD-10 coding has been updated for clinicians to classify a diagnosis correctly in the case of trafficking and to provide appropriate treatment, while tracking the reoccurrence of labour and sexual exploitation of victims.

For the American Health Associations Hospitals Against Violence release of the new ICD-10-CM codes to classify human trafficking abuse as released in June 2018, read here.

A Game of Chance? Long-term support for survivors of Modern Slavery

The report A Game of Chance? Long-term support for survivors of Modern Slavery Dr. Carole Murphy at The Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery offers a comprehensive analysis into the UK’s current approach to support for victims of human trafficking and modern slavery. It highlights the significant gaps in survivor care, most notably in long-term support. There is little done beyond the 45 day reflection and recovery period of the National Referral Mechanism, after which financial assistance ends and survivors are vulnerable to re-trafficking and exploitation. Hence, the report suggests the “system and its processes and procedures are not fit for purpose and have the potential to cause harm to survivors through re-traumatisation, falling through gaps in service provision and potential re-exploitation.

The key recommendations are:

  • Resource services to work with complexity of survivors’ needs relevant statutory and voluntary sector
  • A positive Conclusive Grounds (CG) decision must carry status and resources (see Lord Mc Coll’s (Victim Support) Bill)
  • Trafficking Survivor Care Standards (HTF) should be implemented as standard model of best practice and should consider introduction of independent advocates
  • Statutory guidelines should be introduced and monitored and include compulsory and embedded training for all First Responders and other statutory services
  • Personnel conducting CG interviews should be properly trained
  • Undertake consistent monitoring of the NRM drawing on evidence based research about what works
  • Document evidence of what works by conducting a cost benefit analysis to establish the social return on investment of longer-term support provision
  • Consider evidence and best practice from other jurisdictions to inform changes


For the full report on A Game of Chance? Long-term support for survivors of Modern Slavery by Dr. Carole Murphy The Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery, read here. 

Trafficking Survivor Care Standards

The Trafficking Survivor Care Standards was drafted as a guide to front line professionals working in the UK counter human trafficking & modern slavery sector, to ensure that survivors receive high quality care. It outlines both principles and practical recommendations to offer a holistic approach that focuses on survivors needs. The aim is to offer solutions to the fundamental recovery and rehabilitation process.

For the full Trafficking Survivor Care Standards by Human Trafficking Foundation 2014, read here. 

Caring for Trafficked Persons: A Guide for Health Providers IOM & UNGIFT

Health care practitioners may face significant challenges when treating human trafficking victims, and come into contact with them at different stages of their exploitation. Careful treatment from healthcare providers can be fundamental in the recovery of abused and traumatised victims. This tool provides a practical guide to assist medical practitioners that are faced with trafficking victims, pulling on collective experiences and cases. It aims to provide guidance in recognising the common health problems and diagnosis associated with trafficking and the most safe and appropriate way to undergo treatments.

For the full report Caring for Trafficked Persons: A Guide for Health Providers by The International Organisation for Migration and UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking, read here. 

NHS Human Trafficking e-Learning Tool

The NHS, in collaboration with the Department of Health have developed a tool to assist in identification and care of trafficking victims. The e-Learning tool is aimed to train healthcare staff by outlining various situations of trafficking and covering the legal rights to medical care of trafficking victims. The aim is to inform and prepare front line staff to provide thorough support when confronted with cases of human trafficking.

To access the NHS Human Trafficking e-Learning tool via an e-Lfh account, see here. 

Working with Victims of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation: A Resource for Mental Health Practitioners

Victims of human trafficking and modern slavery often suffer from significant mental health and physical trauma as a result of their exploitation. Resources listed in this report, Working with Victims of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation aims to assist medical practitioners and front line medical professionals coming into contact with potential victims.

For the full resource Working with Victims of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation: A Resource for Mental Health Practitioners by Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, read here. 

Building the Capacity of Community Health Centres to Address Human Trafficking

In response to the growing awareness of human trafficking as a health issue, the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organisations (AAPCHO) assembled this policy briefing. It is aimed at the the US Government in order to reinforce local community health centres who are often first confronted with trafficking victims. Recommendations include:

1. Develop a National Cooperative Agreement on the topic area of human trafficking as it pertains to federally qualified health centres (FQHCs);

2. Issuance of a Program Assistance Letter (PAL) from the Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) on the topic of human trafficking;

3. Host a summit on health care and human trafficking cosponsored by HRSA/BPHC with the Administration for Children and Families;

4. Develop funded pilot projects in FQHCs to work with this population.

For the policy briefing on Building the Capacity of Community Health Centres to Address Human Trafficking, read here.