Human Trafficking in the Foster Care System

Catherine G. Coughlin, Robyn R. Miller, Selina Higgins, Kidian Martinez, Christine Dipaolo, Jordan Greenbaum - Medical Perspectives on Human Trafficking in Adolescents


In this case, we meet Maya, an adolescent girl in foster care who is trafficked for sex. We follow her medical visits for contraceptive care and sexually transmitted infection screening over approximately one year. During this time, she is caught in a cycle of intermittent trafficking and transitioning to new foster homes. Her story highlights many unique risk factors that make children in foster care more vulnerable to traffickers. We also discuss reproductive coercion, its risk factors, socioeconomic implications, and provide guidance for medical professionals responding to the needs of trafficking victims in foster care.