Human Trafficking and Toxicology

Human traffickers control their victims through force, fraud, and/or coercion. Coercion, specifically, can take many forms, including seeking out vulnerable victims facing substance abuse. In other cases, traffickers may introduce victims to drugs and alcohol to facilitate their crimes and establish additional control. Understanding basic toxicology better allows law enforcement, prosecutors, and medical professionals to recognize how drugs and alcohol affect a victim’s ability to disclose, participate in the criminal justice system, and recover from the trauma of trafficking.

This presentation will identify common dynamics in sex and labor trafficking and describe how drugs and alcohol are used to assert and maintain control over victims and perpetrate trafficking and trafficking related crimes. The presenter will discuss the importance of and strategies for collaborating with medical professionals to identify drug-facilitated human trafficking, provide much needed care, and educate other allied professionals about the effects of drug use in the context of trafficking dynamics