According to the United States Attorney’s Office “Human trafficking deprives people of their human rights and freedoms”. There are many aspects of human trafficking that severely affect people of all ages, sexes, races, and genders. The experiences that victims undergo have a detrimental physical and psychological effects. The people of Stop Violence against Women states that “the act of trafficking and the attendant human rights violation can have very serious consequences for the victim.”
In regards to physical consequences, “trafficking victims often suffer from serious physical abuse and physical exhaustion, as well as starvation.” (SVAW) This is true for a variation of trafficking. Whether it be for labor or sex, victims show signs of physical trauma. Some examples of this would be concussions, burns, bruises, scars, and weight loss (SVAW). In cases of sex trafficking women are often times accidently impregnated and later forced to have abortions since contraception is not provided or used (SVAW). In addition, many women/girls contract sexually transmitted infections (most commonly HIV/AIDS) and if left un-treated result in permeant infertility (SVAW).
As for psychological trauma, this is most common in cases of sex trafficking. In cases such as these, women, children, and men are not only exposed to physical abuse, but also sexual abuse. This treatment often leads to psychological problems. Often times victims use survival mechanisms such as denial as a way to cope during mistreatment, but later the repercussions are more severe. “This type of physical and sexual abuse leads to severe mental and emotional health consequences.” (SVAW) This includes mind/body separation, shame, grief, fear, distrust, self-hatred, and suicide/suicidal thoughts (Health Crime). In addition, these issues can also lead to drug/alcohol addictions and eating disorders (SVAW). In very severe cases there is also a risk of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder which includes anxiety, depression, insomnia, self –loathing, and hyper-alertness (Health Crime)
As you can see not only the experience of the victim important, but so is the aftermath. In my next blog I will be discussing how governments and societies deal with these issues, and what is done to help these victims post trafficking. It is important to not only discuss the issue of human trafficking at hand, but also the issue of helping those who experience it cope afterwards.
(PLEASE read if you have the chance)