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Light scattered by a dielectric object when it is trapped in the field of a plasmonic nanostructure is studied theoretically and experimentally using both dielectric spheres and S. cerevisiae cells. A dramatic enhancement of the scattered light is observed for short separation distances between scatterer and plasmonic trap. It is shown that this effect can serve to selectively image cells after their immobilization and distinguish them from a turbid background. The high sensitivity of the scattered light to the separation distance and lateral displacement also provides additional insights in the configuration of the cell within the trap.