About Us

The Institute on Healthcare and Human Trafficking operates within the Stephanie V. Blank Center for Safe and Healthy Children at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The institute is a collaboration between the Center for Safe and Healthy Children, the Mark Chaffin Center for Healthy Development within the School of Public Health at Georgia State University and the Emory University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

The mission of the institute is to improve the lives of children and families affected by human trafficking by increasing and enhancing behavioral health and medical care through research, training and education. It acts as a central resource for medical and behavioral health professionals seeking information on sex and labor trafficking involving children and adults.

The goals of the institute are to:

  1. Raise awareness among health professionals about labor and sex trafficking of children and adults.
  2. Increase the ability of health professionals to recognize potential victims and respond appropriately.
  3. Contribute to the body of research on human trafficking.

The institute:

  • Provides a clearinghouse of existing resources and research for prevention, identification, intervention and treatment.
  • Offers online and on-site training and education to medical and behavioral health professionals working with adults and children.
  • Provides a calendar of events related to human trafficking within the U.S.
  • Provides technical assistance to health professionals seeking to design office, clinic and/or hospital protocols or develop programs on human trafficking.
  • Conducts research on human trafficking.

Scope of human trafficking

Reliable estimates of the prevalence of human trafficking are difficult to ascertain, given the criminal nature of the activity, differing definitions of ‘human trafficking’, the lack of a centralized database, under-reporting by victims, and various methodological challenges encountered in research. Globally, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and others estimated that 24.9 million people were victims of forced labor in 2016 (including forced labor in the private economy, state-imposed forced labor, and forced sexual exploitation of adult/child commercial sexual exploitation); 18% of these were children (4.5 million). Of the 15.4 million living in a forced marriage; 37% (5.7 million) were children. Approximately 1 million children were victims of commercial sexual exploitation in 2016 (excluding forced marriage).24 However, it is important to keep in mind that any estimate of prevalence must be accompanied by an understanding of the inherent challenges involved with measurement, and the likely inaccuracies associated with those challenges.

Reference: International Labour Organization. Global estimates of modern slavery: Forced labour and forced marriage. International Labour Organization, Geneva, Switzerland; Available here; Accessed on Dec 12, 2017.

Human trafficking as a public health issue

Viewing human trafficking through a public health lens, we can utilize a multidisciplinary approach to identify and characterize the individual, relationship, community and societal vulnerabilities that facilitate victimization. Based on methodologically rigorous and sound research we can design and scientifically evaluate programs, strategies and policies of prevention and intervention. A public health framework acknowledges that human trafficking affects a large population, directly or indirectly, and impacts the health and well-being of the society. It encourages the use of limited resources to target those at highest risk. In addition, a public health approach recognizes that we cannot combat human trafficking in a vacuum. We must simultaneously address other major problems that marginalize our community members and increase their vulnerability: poverty, substance use, mental health disorders and community violence, to name but a few.

Public health response

Our goal is to address human trafficking with a public health response. We offer healthcare professionals resources for primary and secondary prevention, through training, education, technical assistance, a clearinghouse of resources and ongoing research on human trafficking.

The importance of training

Research suggests that a high percentage of victims will, at some point during their exploitation, seek medical care. In one study of adolescent and adult sex trafficking survivors in the U.S., 88 percent reported seeking attention from a healthcare provider(1). It is imperative that medical and behavioral healthcare professionals, including physicians, psychologists, nurses, advanced practitioners, counselors and social workers, are educated about human trafficking and prepared to recognize potential victims and respond appropriately. There is a need for a centralized resource for healthcare providers to obtain high-quality education and training about human trafficking, as well as easily access resources from a wide variety of sources. The Institute for Healthcare and Human Trafficking is that resource.

  1. Lederer LJ, 2014, Annals Health Law.

On Demand Training

Human Trafficking Meets Healthcare: An Opportunity for Intervention

This 1-hour, self-paced e-learning module is designed for healthcare professionals who may encounter patients affected by labor or sex trafficking/exploitation. The course offers 1.0 hours of free CME/CNE credit and provides a basic overview of adult and child trafficking. This practical guidance for clinicians includes definitions, risk factors, possible indicators, health consequences, and recommendations for recognizing and appropriately responding to suspected trafficking.

Take the training

End Child Sex Trafficking & Sexual Violence in Georgia: A School-Based Prevention Program

This online webinar is designed to educate school professionals on the impact of human trafficking. This 1-hour training covers risk factors, potential indicators, and the health consequences of child sex trafficking. Participants will also learn about common recruitment techniques and strategies that school professionals can use to prevent exploitation of students. This course will also provide participants with information about making a report and appropriate referrals to resources for children that they suspect have been trafficked or are at risk.

Take the training

What's New in Human Trafficking

New ICD10-CM Codes for Human Trafficking and Exploitation

On October 1, 2018, the Centers for Disease Control implemented new ICD-10-CM codes to specifically categorize sex and labor trafficking/exploitation.  Tracking cases of exploitation is critical to monitoring incidence and recurrence, determining short- and long-term adverse effects on children and adults, assessing treatment modalities, and estimating cost of care. Such data are central to public health efforts to prevent and eradicate human trafficking and exploitation. ICD codes specifically focused on labor and sexual exploitation will support development of treatment and other services, positively impact research and data collection efforts, and drive the creation of new prevention strategies.  Additional information and a list of relevant ICD-10-CM codes may be found here or under our “Medical Education and Healthcare Service Delivery” resource tab.

View the 2020 TIP Report


Increased Risk of Human Trafficking During and After COVID-19

The current global pandemic of SARS-CoV-2 has prompted extensive public health measures to mitigate the spread of disease. These measures facilitate social distancing and have major economic and social consequences that are likely to exacerbate the risks of sex and labor trafficking of children and adults. At the same time, social distancing practices create major challenges to those working to support and protect exploited persons and those at risk.

Learn more about how COVID-19 may impact the risk of human trafficking


Georgia's Labor Trafficking Roundtable Report

The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council’s (CJCC) Georgia Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force has recently released a groundbreaking report on labor trafficking in Georgia. The contents of the report summarize key findings obtained from a multidisciplinary roundtable discussion of forced labor hosted in Nov 2019. The convening was moderated by Susan Coppedge, former United States Ambassador-at-Large for the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking. The goal of the roundtable was to begin conversations that would yield actionable steps to improve recognition of forced labor in Georgia and enhance services for trafficked persons.

The report provides an overview of forced labor and then focuses on labor exploitation in Georgia. It summarizes issues and ideas discussed by roundtable participants as they contemplated 4 questions:

  1. How do we increase awareness of labor trafficking?
  2. How do we better serve victims of labor trafficking?
  3. How can we capture data on labor trafficking?
  4. What can be done on the state level?

The summarized discussion of each question is followed by a set of specific Action Steps. The report ends with key Next Steps to assist Georgia in tackling labor trafficking throughout the state.

Read Georgia's Labor Trafficking Roundtable Report

Learn more about the CJCC Georgia Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force


Epidemiology/General information


Labor Trafficking

Healthcare Protocols and Guidelines

Request for Training

To request training for your staff, or technical assistance in developing your organizational response to human trafficking, please contact Jordan Greenbaum, MD, or call 404-785-3829.


The Institute on Healthcare and Human Trafficking is funded by a generous grant from the Junior League of Atlanta.



The Institute is represented on the following national committees and in these national and international organizations:

  • National Advisory Committee on the Sex Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United States (Dept. Health and Human Services, Administration for Children & Families, Office on Trafficking in Persons). The role of the NAC is to advise the Secretary and the Attorney General on practical and general policies concerning improvements to the nation’s response to the sex trafficking of children and youth in the United States.
  • National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center consultant (Dept. Health and Human Services, Administration for Children & Families, Office on Trafficking in Persons). The NHTTAC provides training and technical assistance enhance the public health response to human trafficking and holistically builds the capacity of communities to identify and appropriately respond to the complex needs of trafficked persons.
  • International Society on the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, Council. ISPCAN is an international multidisciplinary society of professionals dedicated to preventing and treating child abuse, neglect and exploitation.
  • HEAL Trafficking (Health, Education, Advocacy and Linkage),
    Board of directors. HEAL is an international group of multidisciplinary professionals addressing human trafficking through a public health approach.
  • American Hospital Association advisory board on human trafficking.

The Institute participated in these advocacy activities:

  • 2/2/18: U.S. Department of Justice Human Trafficking Summit, Washington DC. Presented on panel, “Restoring Freedom/Empowering Victim Support”.
  • 3/6/18: American Hospital Association convening on human trafficking, Washington D.C. Presented on work of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Institute on Healthcare and Human Trafficking
  • 5/2-3/18: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA) Human Trafficking and Child Trauma Expert Panel Meeting, Washington D.C.
  • American Hospital Association advisory board on human trafficking.