School of Nursing


Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Cynthia Goodrich


Healthcare, Healthcare Providers, Sex Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Labor Trafficking, Emergency Department




Human trafficking is a global public health crisis catastrophically threatening the health and well-being of those trafficked. Limited studies measure health care providers’ confidence in their ability to recognize, treat, and refer those being trafficked. This integrative review synthesizes current knowledge on human trafficking and identifies gaps in research on educational interventions aimed at increasing provider knowledge and awareness as well as confidence in treating and referring those being trafficked. A systematic search of five databases identified peer-reviewed published papers between 2015 and 2021. The integrative review followed the framework of Toronto and Remington (2020), and the systemic search was guided by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Revies and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). Melnyk’s Levels of Evidence framework was used for appraising the quality of evidence (Melnyk & Fineout-Overholt, 2015). Findings across studies (N = 11) reveal that providers (nurses, doctors, social workers, and hospital staff) have low knowledge and confidence in their knowledge surrounding human trafficking and their role in identification, treatment, and referrals related to an array of barriers. Further findings across studies (N = 13) reveal that providers’ knowledge and confidence knowledge about human trafficking and identification, and referral of those being trafficked increased significantly with an array of educational interventions, but the transfer of this new knowledge to practice is a gap in research, as few studies reported this (n = 2).

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