Mumma et al reported questions which may be able to identify a victim of sex trafficking in the Emergency Department. The authors are from the University of California at Davis.

Patient selection: Emergency Department


Barriers to detection of sex trafficking:

(1) lack of clinician awareness about sex trafficking issues

(2) lack of time in the Emergency Department

(3) chief complaint not typical for sex trafficking victims

(4) victim inhibitions (shame, fear, etc)

(5) presence of a trafficker with the patient


Screening questions:

(1) Do you need to ask permission to: eat, sleep, use the bathroom, go to the doctor?

(2) Were you (or anyone you work with) ever beaten, hit, yelled at, raped, threatened or made to feel physical pain for working slowly or for trying to leave?

(3) Has anyone threatened your family?

(4) Is anyone forcing you to do anything that you do not want to do?

(5) Do you owe your employer money?

(6) Is someone else in control of your money?

(7) Are you forced to work at your current job?

(8) Does someone else control whether you can leave your house or not?

(9) Are you kept from contacting your friend and/or family whenever you would like?

(10) Is someone else in control of your personal papers: identification documents, passport, birth certificate?

(11) Was someone else in control of arrangements for your travel to this country and your identification documents?

(12) Do you owe money to someone for travel to this country?

(13) Has anyone threatened you with deportation?

(14) Does anyone force you to have sexual intercourse for your work?



• Only the last question specifically mentions sexual intercourse.

• Item 2 was reported in all victims of sex trafficking.


Responses: yes or no

To read more or access our algorithms and calculators, please log in or register.