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Human Trafficking: Identification and Intervention

Erika Smith-Marek, PhD, LMFT

CE Credit: 1 Hour

Target Audience: Psychology CE | Counseling CE | Speech-Language Pathology CEUs | Social Work CE | Occupational Therapy CEUs | Marriage & Family Therapy CE | School Psychology CE | Teaching CE

Learning Level: Introductory

Course Type: Online

Course Abstract

Human Trafficking: Identification and Intervention is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE) course that details the many facets of human trafficking as well as how to identify and provide intervention to victims/survivors.

Human trafficking, commonly discussed under the two broad categories of sexual trafficking and labor trafficking, is a pervasive public health issue, both globally and in the United States. This course will examine the various forms of human trafficking, including the commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of domestic minors and children who are foreign nationals, the commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of adults, and the labor trafficking of adults and minors. Estimates of the prevalence and scope of these crimes are discussed. As we discuss each of these categories, we consider the range of crimes committed against the individuals, how the exploitation can be part of a larger experience of trauma, tactics used to lure individuals into trafficking, and the issues surrounding work visas.

The course begins by defining and exploring the scope of this human rights violation and discusses the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) three-pronged approach to combatting human trafficking. This is followed by a short overview of the National Human Trafficking Hotline’s Action-Means-Purpose Model used to describe the elements of human trafficking.

Detailed information on the potential indicators of human trafficking and the specific red flag indicators of trafficking is provided. Several screening tools available to assist healthcare professionals with identifying victims of trafficking are also provided. This is followed by a discussion of issues that should be considered in providing intervention and services. This includes the assessment and treatment of trauma when working with patients; implementation of the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care; barriers to financial inclusion and stability; the importance of professional interpreters; and law enforcement involvement in trafficking cases.

The importance of using trauma informed assessment and care is underscored as the author presents information on SAMHSA’s trauma informed approach to care, highlighting the six key principles and outlining trauma-specific interventions. This is followed by a short section on how the challenges related to working with victims/survivors who have endured abuse and trauma may contribute to the experience of vicarious trauma among providers.

A comprehensive list of informational videos, further training opportunities, and resources are provided. Appendices outlining the 25 distinct businesses in which the human trafficking of persons occurs, and key trafficking terms and definitions are also included.

The recommended one hour of study time is for reading the course materials only. Watching the accompanying videos and studying further reading materials via the links provided are not necessary to take the course exam. The resources provided at the end of the course are also for informational purposes only.


  • Introduction
  • The Health Impact of Human Trafficking: Key Findings from the Research
  • Potential Indicators of Human Trafficking
  • Considerations in Providing Intervention and Services
  • Trauma-Informed Approach and Trauma-Specific Interventions
  • Resources
  • Conclusion

Course #11-50 | 2024 | 33 pages | 10 posttest questions

Please note: This course is NOT (yet) approved for Texas licensees.

Learning Objectives

1. Discuss the two broad types of human trafficking
2. Describe five indicators of human trafficking in the healthcare setting
3. Explain how a trauma-informed approach can be implemented in working with those impacted by human trafficking
4. Identify six resources available to healthcare professionals who are working with those impacted by human trafficking

Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the Florida Board of Psychology and the Office of School Psychology and is CE Broker compliant (#50-1635 - all courses are reported within two business days of completion). Professional Development Resources, Inc. is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists (#PSY-0145).


This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. The course is text-based (reading) and the CE test is open-book (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document).

Successful completion of this course involves passing an online test (80% required, 3 chances to take) and we ask that you also complete a brief course evaluation. Click here to learn more.

Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

About the Author(s)

Erika Smith-Marek, PhD, LMFTis a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, a Clinical Fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, a Certified Trauma Treatment Specialist through the Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists, and an EMDRIA Approved Consultant and Certified Therapist in EMDR Therapy. She has over fifteen years of experience specializing in the treatment of trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as marital, couple, and family therapy. Her clinical and research interests converge around the treatment of trauma and traumatic stress. https://www.erikasmithmarek.com/

Financial: Dr. Smith-Marek receives author compensation from Professional Development Resources.
: No relevant nonfinancial relationships exist.

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