The human trafficking crisis: Identifying and reporting in the dental setting

By educating dental hygienists, as well as other professionals in all healthcare settings, victims of trafficking may be more likely to be rescued and receive the proper resources for healing and recovery.

3 CE Credits

A peer-reviewed article written by Kandice Swarthout, RDH, LPC


Human trafficking is a growing public health and safety issue in the United States. It is the fastest-growing commerce in the world with over 200,000 minors at risk in the United States. People of all ages are forced into labor or sexual exploitation with fraud and coercion. It is believed that up to 80% of victims are seen by healthcare providers while under the influence of traffickers.1 These victims will not identify themselves as such due to the fear of being further abused by their traffickers. Currently, only 13 states require healthcare professionals to take courses on recognizing the signs of a trafficked person.2 As dental care providers, it is imperative to identify the signs and know how to report suspected human trafficking. By educating dental hygienists, as well as other professionals in all healthcare settings, victims of trafficking may be more likely to be rescued and receive the proper resources for healing and recovery.

Educational objectives

  • Understand the definition of human trafficking
  • Learn who is at risk to be trafficked
  • Understand the difference between sex trafficking and sex work
  • Learn how to identify a person who is being trafficked
  • Evaluate the need to report a potentially trafficked person
  • Understand the procedures for reporting a potentially trafficked person
  • Use trauma-informed care and apply effective communication skills to a potentially trafficked patient

Kandice Swarthout, RDH, LPC, is a licensed professional counselor and registered dental hygienist. She is a full-time dental hygiene educator in Texas. Kandice is the owner of Inspired Education & Wellness, where she is a writer, private practice therapist, and speaker. She combines her clinical dental and mental health experience to help other healthcare professionals have a fulfilling work-life experience. Read Kandice’s articles in Dentistry iQ, Today’s RDH, and her blog on Facebook titled “Fearless Compassion: Stories of Personal Triumph.”

Image credit:  © Sujit Kantakat |
Quick Access Code: 21005

Not Enrolled

Course Includes

  • 9 Lessons
  • 1 Test
  • Course Certificate
  • CE credit(s): 3

    Course Type: Written

    Published Date: APRIL 2021

    This continuing education (CE) activity was developed by Endeavor Business Media with no commercial support.

    This course was written for dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants, from novice to skilled.

    Educational methods: This course is a self-instructional journal and web activity.

    Provider disclosure: Endeavor Business Media neither has a leadership position nor a commercial interest in any products or services discussed or shared in this educational activity. No manufacturer or third party had any input in the development of the course content.

    Requirements for successful completion: To obtain 3 CE credits for this educational activity, you must pay the required fee, review the material, complete the course evaluation, and obtain an exam score of 70% or higher.

    CE planner disclosure: Laura Winfield, Endeavor Business Media dental group CE coordinator, neither has a leadership nor commercial interest with the products or services discussed in this educational activity. Ms. Winfield can be reached at

    Educational disclaimer: Completing a single continuing education course does not provide enough information to result in the participant being an expert in the field related to the course topic. It is a combination of many educational courses and clinical experience that allows the participant to develop skills and expertise.

    Image authenticity statement: The images in this educational activity have not been altered.

    Scientific integrity statement: Information shared in this CE course is developed from clinical research and represents the most current information available from evidence-based dentistry.

    Known benefits and limitations of the data: The information presented in this educational activity is derived from the data and information contained in the reference section.

    Registration: The cost of this CE course is $39.00 for 3 CE credits.

    Cancellation and refund policy: Any participant who is not 100% satisfied with this course can request a full refund by contacting Endeavor Business Media in writing.

    Provider information:

    Dental Board of California: Provider RP5933. Course registration number CA code: 03-5933-21005. Expires MARCH 2024. “This course meets the Dental Board of California’s requirements for 3 units of continuing education.”


    Endeavor Business Media is a nationally approved PACE program provider for FAGD/MAGD credit.
    Approval does not imply acceptance by any regulatory authority or AGD endorsement.
    11/1/2022 to 10/31/2024.
    Provider ID# 320452
    AGD code: 166


    Endeavor Business Media is designated as an approved Provider by the American Academy of Dental Hygiene, Inc. #AADHPNW (January 1, 2022–December 31, 2024). Approval does not imply acceptance by a state or provincial Board of Dentistry. Licensee should maintain this document in the event of an audit. AADH code:


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