Human Trafficking Education for Emergency Department Providers


  • Caroline Shadowen
  • Sarah Beaverson
  • Fidelma B. Rigby



human trafficking, education, Emergency Department, healthcare provider


Many trafficked persons receive medical care in the Emergency Department (ED); however, ED staff have historically not been educated about human trafficking. In this article, we describe interventions aimed to train ED providers on the issue of trafficking. We performed a scoping review of the existing literature and found 17 studies that describe such interventions: 14 trainings implemented in the ED, two taught at conferences for ED providers, and one assessing a state-mandated training. These studies demonstrate that even brief education can improve provider confidence in screening and treating patients that experienced trafficking. We advocate for interventions to promote a team-based approach specific to the ED setting, acknowledge the importance of survivors’ input on curriculum development, and assess outcomes using pre- and post-surveys.


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Author Biographies

Caroline Shadowen

Caroline (‘Carrie’) Shadowen, MD, is an incoming resident in Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System (VCUHS). She studied English at the University of California, Berkeley and is a strong believer in making the world safer for everyone, especially groups who have historically been ignored and mistreated. Her clinical and research interests focus on the intersection of women’s health and substance use disorders. She was the Outreach Chair for the VCUHS Third Annual Human Trafficking Symposium.

Sarah Beaverson

Sarah Beaverson is a third-year medical student at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. Before medical school she attended Duke University for a dual degree in Biology and Global Health. She is one of the Research Co-Chairs of the VCUHS Student Interest Group in Human Trafficking. She is interested in family medicine and women’s reproductive health, and passionate about racial health equity and community health. Her previous research experience is in family planning utilisation among Haitian women, and multisector population health improvement initiatives.

Fidelma B. Rigby

Fidelma B. Rigby, MD, is an Associate Professor of OB/GYN in the Maternal Fetal Division of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and Clerkship Director for the VCUHS OB/GYN department. She is Faculty Co-Leader of the VCUHS Student Interest group in Human Trafficking and has given multiple presentation on human trafficking in the community and at national OB/GYN conferences. She has been Co-Chair of the Annual VCUHS Educational Symposium on Human Trafficking for the past three years. Her other research interests include perinatal mood disorders and undergraduate medical education.




How to Cite

Shadowen, C., Beaverson, S., & Rigby, F. (2021). Human Trafficking Education for Emergency Department Providers. Anti-Trafficking Review, (17), 38–55.