Sex trafficking in Ireland from a health care perspective.
Sex trafficking within Ireland is a hidden phenomenon. In 2010, 78 alleged victims were reported to An Garda Siochina and the recorded levels of human trafficking into Ireland have remained at this level for the last four years. Despite this, no Irish guidelines or referral pathways exist to assist health care professionals. This paper highlights that health care professionals are not aware of this occurrence nor have they been trained to identify victims. Due to a lack of awareness many potential opportunities to detect these victims may be missed. While there is no single set of symptoms or signs that differentiates sex-trafficked victims from other sex workers, an awareness of common physical and psychological health problems associated with sex trafficking by health care professionals may increase victim detection rates. This paper summarises indicators, approach mechanisms, screening questions and a referral guideline relevant to the Irish health care system. This step-by-step guide can be used by health care professionals who encounter such a situation.