By Dr. Samir Desai
There is a perception that human trafficking isn't as much of a problem in the U.S. as other parts of the world but the numbers tell a different story. According to statistics compiled by the Polaris Project, it was estimated that nearly 250,000 American children were at risk of child sexual exploitation in 2000.
In a KevinMD article, Dr. Alberto Hazan reminds clinicians to be on the lookout for these victims, and offers us some signs to help us identify potential victims of human trafficking. In talking with so many of my colleagues who are established in academia or private practice, few of us recall receiving education about human trafficking during medical school or residency training.
Our nation's medical schools need to incorporate this education into the curriculum. In a study done at a single medical school, nearly 95% of students reported not being knowledgeable or only being somewhat knowledgeable about human trafficking. Eighty-nine percent were not familiar with the signs and symptoms of trafficked persons.
Fortunately, we have students like Megan Beck to show us the way. Megan is a third-year medical student at the Medical College of Wisconsin who has worked tirelessly as an advocate for the identification of victims of human sex trafficking. At MCW, she has taken the lead to raise awareness of human trafficking among her peers. Her efforts have extended well beyond her school to involve health care providers in the community. She has advocated for this important cause at both the state and national level.
For her remarkable work, she was recently honored as the recipient of the Student Leadership Award from the Medical Society of Milwaukee County. We're pleased to feature Megan as today's MD2B.
About Today's MD2B
MD2B, the parent company of TheSuccessfulMatch.com, will periodically recognize the important work and contributions made by medical students across the U.S. in such areas as patient care, teaching, research, leadership, advocacy, and service. If you know of a deserving medical student, please contact us.