WHO Should Recognize Human Trafficking As Official Medical Diagnosis, Significant Public Health Issue

STAT: Human trafficking must be officially recognized as a medical diagnosis
Abraar Karan, resident physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and Hanni Stoklosa, emergency department physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, instructor in emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School, and executive director of HEAL Trafficking

“…As the World Health Organization works toward its 11th iteration of [the International Classification of Disease (ICD)] codes, we urge that ‘victim of human trafficking’ be recognized as an official diagnosis. … The importance of including human trafficking as a billable medical condition by including it in the ICD code system is part of a larger movement to frame trafficking as a significant public health issue that affects millions of vulnerable people around the world. The harms of trafficking to human health are multifold, spanning multiple disciplines of medicine, including emergency medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, infectious disease, pediatrics, and psychiatry. To classify victims of trafficking solely on their presenting medical symptoms would be a failure to identify the true cause of their poor health. … A formal endorsement from the World Health Organization by including ‘victim of human trafficking’ into the ICD codes would be an important step forward…” (7/25).

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