Health Center News

Human Trafficking Under the Spotlight on Capitol Hill

Community Health Center physician Kimberly Chang, MD, from Asian Health Services in California recently visited Capitol Hill to provide testimony on identifying and rescuing human trafficking victims. Speaking to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Dr. Chang highlighted how health centers’ provision of culturally competent care make them essential to the care and identification of human trafficking victims, as well as identifying those who are at risk of being trafficked.

“Each trafficked patient requires care specific to their culture, migration and complex trauma experiences,” said Dr. Chang. “Community Health Centers are essential in providing care for these individuals as they excel at cultural competency, and are uniquely positioned to identify patients who are victims and provide continuity of care for those exploited.”

According to a brief by the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) one in three human trafficking victims in the United States is Asian American/Pacific Islander. Much like those served by health centers, trafficking victims are often from vulnerable, low-income, immigrant populations. AAPCHO also indicates that research has shown that over 80 percent of victims have contact with a healthcare provider, and over 50 percent receive treatment in a clinic setting even while captive.

In her testimony Dr. Chang recommended creating and strengthening funding opportunities for prevention programs and comprehensive health services at health centers. She also recommended the promotion and funding of corporative programs across sectors, funding enabling services, and the assurance of culturally accessible services for victims.

Listen to Dr. Chang’s testimony here.

Read AAPCHO press release on the testimony here.