Original Report| Volume 32, ISSUE 6, P628-632, December 2019

Patients Referred for Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: A Comparison of Confirmed and Suspected Youth


      Study Objective

      To compare characteristics of patients with confirmatory evidence (eg, disclosure, found by law enforcement) of domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) involvement with those without confirmatory evidence but who were suspected of involvement.


      A retrospective chart review was conducted of all patients referred for DMST involvement. Confirmed DMST patients were compared with suspected patients with regard to demographic, psychosocial, medical, and psychiatric variables.


      A child protection program at a children's hospital where patients are evaluated by child abuse pediatricians in outpatient, emergency department, and inpatient settings.


      Patients 11-17 years old referred for concern of DMST involvement between August 1, 2013 and July 1, 2016 were included. Patients self-disclosed, had reported with evidence, and/or had histories that placed them at high risk for DMST involvement.

      Interventions and Main Outcome Measures

      We collected data on demographic, psychosocial, medical, and psychiatric variables from the medical records of patients referred for evaluation.


      A total of 67 patients were included. No statistically significant differences were identified between the confirmed and suspected groups.


      Our preliminary data showed that confirmed and suspected patients presented with similar and high rates of concerning medical and psychosocial issues; therefore, medical providers should evaluate and treat all patients referred for DMST. Similar treatment includes referrals for psychological/substance abuse interventions, safety planning, and collaboration with a multidisciplinary team.

      Key Words

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