Unlearning what is untrue

The medical profession is without question the home to some of the brightest minds on the planet. And it makes sense why--it takes far more than average or even above-average intelligence to navigate the rigorous educational requirements necessary to earn society's confidence. Communities are, after all, entrusting their bodies, their lives, and their loved ones' lives into the hands of a stranger. So they have every right to expect that medical professionals aren't just smart, but brilliant.

But can intelligence make us dumb? Behavioral psychologists use the term confirmation bias to refer to the phenomenon whereby smart (even brilliant) people cling to less-than-smart ideas simply on inertia.

"I heard it somewhere once, I believe it, and I'll continue to believe it until I have sufficient reason to believe otherwise."

Sounds good on paper. Only problem is, for most of us, the bar we call "sufficient reason" means that we don't actively try to dislodge incumbent beliefs. And why would we? We'd do nothing else if we lived our lives trying to fact-check ourselves. So the need to "get on with things" keeps confirmation bias alive and well.

Why are we telling you all of this?

As it turns out, child sex trafficking is a notoriously misunderstood subject. Let's explore some of those misunderstandings.

Sex trafficking: Among the many prevailing images surrounding this term is one of women and girls being shipped in cargo containers to lives of sexual slavery thousands of miles away from their home countries. And although this nightmare is a sad reality for many, it would be a mistake to categorize trafficking as this and ONLY this.

Sex trafficking means the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act through means of force, fraud, or coercion. If money, goods, drugs, information, etc. are traded for sex through means of fraud, force, or coercion, then sex trafficking is occurring.

Download our complete Children's Hospital Executive Guide here to learn how healthcare professionals can educate themselves to identify potential trafficking victims.