April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). As AMO contributes to the conversation, the topics and content presented some may find triggering. Use discretion for your own health.

Sex Trafficking and Sexual Assault

Sex trafficking — when a person seeks money in exchange for sex. As the issue rises across the United States, organizations in Central Illinois are helping physicians recognize human trafficking and sexual assault to provide victims with the appropriate care and resources.  

In many cases, physicians interact with trafficked victims without realizing it. Many patients do not come forward and identify themselves as trafficking victims.  

The Red Flags

Physicians and nurses must look for red flags to identify a need for help. Some of these red flags include whether a patient is nervous or if their story is inconsistent. If someone accompanies the patient to the clinic, the person who is speaking on behalf of the patient may be overly dominant in the conversation.  

There are also differences between a patient who is being trafficked and one who is being sexually abused. Experts must observe carefully when patients come in for treatment as they might present physical or sexual abuse signs. Physicians and nurses must continue asking questions to see if there is any indication of human trafficking.  


Organizations such as the Center For Prevention of Abuse and OSF Healthcare offer resources to keep the public aware and educate teens to ensure they do not become victims. OSF has a built-in screening tool in their electronic health medical record for all the sexual assault patients that have come in. Physicians at OSF have also been trained by the Center for Prevention Abuse to understand how to properly care for patients who have been sexually assaulted as well.  

Source: Central Illinois Proud  

Interested in training the next generation of doctors? Become a host with AMO! Visit our site to inquire more.