Deadline Extended — Call for Papers: The Public Health Response to Human Trafficking: A Look Back and a Step Forward

June 26, 2020

Call for Papers

Public Health Reports Supplement on “The Public Health Response to Human Trafficking: A Look Back and a Step Forward”


Public Health Reports (PHR), a peer-reviewed journal of public health research and practice and the official journal of the Office of the Surgeon General and U.S. Public Health Service, is inviting submissions for a supplemental issue on human trafficking into and within the United States. The supplement is sponsored by the Office on Trafficking in Persons within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and as a follow-up to the 2018 HHS National Health and Human Trafficking Symposium. The supplement aims to build the evidence base for human trafficking prevention and intervention and elevate the importance of stronger public health responses to commercialized forms of violence.

Human trafficking is a public health problem that affects victims, families, communities, and society. Traffickers disproportionately target populations at risk, including persons who have experienced or been exposed to other forms of violence (e.g., child abuse or maltreatment, interpersonal violence or sexual assault, and community or gang violence) and persons disconnected from stable support networks (e.g., runaway or homeless youth, unaccompanied minors, and persons displaced during disasters). As a public health concern, human trafficking requires prevention, harm reduction, and evidence-based responses that use an equity lens. Those affected are interacting with communities and systems of care who have an opportunity to respond and are in need of research-informed guidance on best practices.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), as amended (22 U.S.C. § 7102), defines “severe forms of trafficking in persons” as:

  • sex trafficking: recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; [and]
  • labor trafficking: recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

PHR is calling for abstracts relating to research, program evaluation, case studies, methodology, and commentaries that address any of the following human trafficking research priorities:

  • Measuring prevalence and incidence
  • Estimating the economic burden of human trafficking victimization (e.g., medical costs and productivity losses)
  • Identifying risk and protective factors for perpetration and victimization
  • Identifying resilience factors
  • Trends in trafficking patterns (e.g., recruitment tactics, family-based trafficking, etc.)
  • Effectiveness of screening and response protocols
  • Evaluation of prevention strategies
  • Research illustrating the impact of federal, state, tribal, and/or local anti-trafficking policies
  • Anti-trafficking program evaluations
  • Outcomes of professional trainings on human trafficking
  • Evaluation of innovative programs (e.g., application of new tools, frameworks, partnerships)  

Overall, the editors encourage submissions that draw on an equity lens and address populations who are under-researched (e.g., exploited and at-risk populations that have received limited attention in scientific studies such as labor-trafficked persons; American Indian, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders; pre-pubescent children; unaccompanied migrant minors; men and boys; and transgender populations).

The guest editors for this supplement are:

  • Ginny Sprang, PhD, University of Kentucky
  • Hanni Stoklosa, MD, MPH, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and HEAL Trafficking
  • Jordan Greenbaum, MD, International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children and HEAL Trafficking

The guest editors request that all authors interested in submitting a full manuscript to the supplement first send an abstract for initial review and comment. Abstracts should be submitted to the supplement mailbox,, as soon as possible but no later than midnight on August 1, 2020. Abstract submissions should be scholarly in nature and offer a clear contribution to new scientific knowledge or public health practice. They should be a maximum of 250 words and should not include any tables, figures, or references. The guest editors will review all abstracts and contact the authors about the suitability of a full manuscript submission.

Supplement submissions will be held to the same peer review standards as other submissions to the journal. Both submitted abstracts and final manuscripts should follow PHR’s Instructions for Contributors Visit disclaimer page appropriate for the desired manuscript type and should be written in accordance with the AMA Manual of Style (11th ed.) and the Federal Plain Language Guidelines Visit disclaimer page.

The following types of articles are acceptable: original research, public health evaluation, public health methodology, case study, brief report, reports and recommendations, topical review, and commentary. For more details regarding specific article types and corresponding review criteria, see PHR’s Instructions to Contributors Visit disclaimer page or contact the PHR managing editor, Dr. Andrey Kuzmichev at Questions about this call for papers should be addressed to the Office on Trafficking in Persons within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at Questions about PHR should be addressed to the journal’s managing editor, Dr. Andrey Kuzmichev at

After full manuscripts are invited and submitted, they will be assessed initially and directed for external peer review by the supplement’s guest editors and the PHR editor in chief. Non-invited manuscripts will not be considered. The tentative submission deadline for full manuscripts is November 1, 2020. Manuscripts should be submitted through PHR’s electronic submission system Visit disclaimer page.

PHR is published through an agreement with the Association of Schools of Public Health. It is the oldest journal of public health in the United States and has been published since 1878. The journal is widely distributed internationally and is indexed by MEDLINE/Index Medicus, Current Contents, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Pais International, and LexisNexis. Learn more about the journal. Visit disclaimer page


JAMA Network Editors. AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors. 11th ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2020.

An equity lens is a process for analyzing or diagnosing the impact of the design and implementation of policies on under-served and marginalized individuals and groups, and for identifying and potentially eliminating barriers.