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Sex Trafficking Victims
Trafficking in human beings is not a new phenomenon, especially that of girls and women. Historically, sex trafficking has taken many forms, however, in the context of globalization it has taken in a new and acquired shocking dimension (Moore, 2015). The sex trafficking is a complex, and multi-faceted phenomenon that involves multiple stakeholders at the commercial as well as institutional level. The market has changed into a demand-driven global business, which has a huge market for commercial sex as well as cheap labor that is confronted with insufficient and unexercised policy frameworks which has trained personnel in order to prevent it (Goodey, 2003).
A sex trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, an evil perpetrated against humanity particularly women. In most developing nations, due to the level of poverty, sex trafficking has become other means to an end for some people (Lucchi, 2009). Traffickers are making millions of dollars by exploiting vulnerable young girls and desperate women. The sex trafficking phenomenon is mostly parallel around the world; young women and innocent girls are the victims while men are usually the perpetrators (Moore, 2015).
The boom in the sex industry over the years has paved ways for organized crime networks, which are established for the sole purpose of recruiting women and young girls. In most developing nations, poverty, political corruption and governmental insensitive to the needs of the people has pushed many to seek greener pasture, through which most women and young girls are coerced into sex trafficking.
The modern day slavery can be said to thrive because of the profitability that comes with the trafficking industry. The UN in its report estimated that modern day slavery generates around 8-10 billion dollars annually. It is imperative to note that this is the third largest profits behind arms and the dealing of narcotics. Further, the moving of human cargo across borders is often easier as compared to drugs and arms which when found are seized.
Human beings are often reused and consequently can be re-trafficked; this is not the same case with drugs. To further worsen the situation, trafficking can be described as dangerous and secret (Lucchi, 2009). The victims for retaliation and even recrimination in different families and villages are afraid to bear witness against known traffickers. This is because these persons are often big people in the society that are capable of swift and ruthless retaliation.
It is of an essence to understand that the art of trafficking, as well as the attendant human rights violations in many cases, have very serious consequences on the side of the victim. The women that are often trafficked suffer from serious mental as well as physical health problems. The trafficking victims often suffer from extreme physical abuse as well as physical exhaustion. There are even times that the victims suffer from starvation (Moore, 2015).
The typical injuries that are experienced by those persons that are trafficked include broken bones, bruising and burns, concussions, as well as other injuries that can be said to be consistent with the assault. It is of importance to understand that some of these injuries often lead to adverse health problems, and they might require long-term treatment (Lucchi, 2009).
The persons that have been trafficked are often subjected to multiple cases of abuse over a long period and consequently they suffer from different and diverse health consequences that have been seen to be similar to those that are experienced by victims of prolonged torture.
The sexual exploitation is a traumatic event where there are emotional and physical effects on the victim. After experiencing the sexual exploitation women and girls often suffer a range wide of different physical and mental reactions. The most common include severe depression and stress. The women also have physical deformities as a result of the prolonged sexual exploitation (Moore, 2015).
They are highly vulnerable to sexual as well as reproductive health complications; these includes sexually transmitted diseases as well as other gynecological diseases. In many cases, the women that are trafficked into the sex trade are not allowed to use condoms or even other methods of birth control. Further, they also do not undergo gynecological examinations. These women, therefore, face the risk of unwanted pregnancies as well as the threat of miscarriages (Lucchi, 2009). This, therefore, shows the reason as to why many women that have been trafficked for the reason of sexual trafficking experience high rates of abortion, infertility as well as sterilization.
Therefore, this type of both physical and sexual abuse often leads to severe mental as well as emotional health consequences; this includes the feelings of guilt, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, depression, eating disorders as well as anxiety. In some cases that are extreme, the mental anguish that the sexual exploitation victims feel leads to self-mutilation or even at times suicide (Moore, 2015). Therefore, for this reason, it is imperative that the victims of trafficking when they are recovered, be given proper physical as well as psychological care as part of their standard medical treatment.
The scourge of HIV/AIDS is rampant with women that have been sexually exploited; it is of essence to understand that around 70% of the women that are trafficked for the purpose of sex are HIV positive (Lucchi, 2009). This, therefore, shows that the HIV menace is the biggest health impediment when it comes to the solving of health issues with different victims. It is important for service providers as well as law enforcement officials to understand the phenomenon regarding human trafficking for sexual exploitation (Moore, 2015). In many cases, it might not be immediately apparent that those women and children require a different kind of support and assistance; however, with time the health care professionals should understand that the needs of the trafficking victims are diverse.
How the topic fits into Psychology
The trauma that is often associated with sex trafficking and its psychological effects can be devastating, and if it is left unaddressed, it can be able to undermine victim’s recovery and it can potentially contribute to the re-victimization. Traffickers are often known to dehumanize as well as objectify their victims (Lucchi, 2009). In fact, in most instances, the victim’s innate sense of power, visibility as well as dignity often becomes obscured.
The traffickers are often known to use coercive tactics as well as the force to make the victims feel that they are worthless and feel that indeed they are emotionally imprisoned (Moore, 2015). As a result, in most instances the victims often lose their sense of security and identity. There are various psychological symptoms that often surface after a period even after the victims have been able to escape and are rescued from the trafficking environment. Therefore, it is critical to understand that indeed psychological support is needed for the victims, and this is where psychology is important in this field (Moore, 2015).
Most of the victims often suffer from Post-Traumatic stress disorder. The post-traumatic stress disorder is one of the mental health illnesses. For one to have the disorder, they must have gone through the traumatic event that are usually painful. The advantage of the post-traumatic disorder is that it's caused is known as compared to other mental illnesses. This way a therapist knows what they are dealing with when attending to their patients.
Most of the people affected by post-traumatic stress disorder are war veterans. This is because during the war they come across traumatizing experiences that are hard to erase. Most of the victims end up taking excess alcohol or get depressed (Thio, 12). Some of the victims end up isolating from the rest and avoid situations that will lead to them remembering what happened during the war. This is the same case with sex-trafficking victims, most of them suffer from PTSD.
Casualties of post-traumatic stress disorder find it hard to find the best solution for their condition. The problem that they face is because the condition is entirely mental. By being mental, it affects most aspects of the victim including the physical part. The post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that causes the victim to experience hyperarousal, avoidance and emotional numbing. These characteristics result from traumatic events that victims go through in a part of their lives (Nash, 2013). The study of PTSD involves observation of symptoms. This leads to many psychologists to believe that the condition arises as a result of the body reacting to normal stress. They believe that this is the normal way of the body of reacting to stressful conditions (Nash, 2013).
There are several theories that suggest that symptoms of PTSD vary from one victim to another. This variation depends on the ability of the body to withstand and cope with a certain traumatic event. Some victims can recover from the condition after a very short time. Others seem to maintain the condition for a long time with some cases lasting for the rest of the victim’s life (Nash, 2013). This condition occurs as a result of breaking the basic assumption of an individual about his invulnerability and the overall safety in the environment surrounding him. Exposure to these conditions causes the brain to break down and become weak.
The brain of a person in normal circumstances can integrate the trauma in his memory. However, PTSD causes the individual’s brain to form faulty beliefs about why some situations took place. The individual’s brain interprets the activities with guilt and self-blame. This causes the individual to get problems in trusting himself. Loss of self-esteem, control and intimacy causes the person to have problems integrating trauma in his memory (Nash, 2013).
The post-traumatic stress disorder is the only disorder that is caused by anxiety and has its cause known. This uniqueness helps in its treatment since the therapist and counselors tackle the issue directly (Nash, 2013). In post-traumatic stress disorder, anything that makes one feel like it’s a traumatic experience may result to the disorder. Some of the events that are likely to cause the disorder include violent acts, life-threatening disease, surviving car crash, natural catastrophe, war, and sexual assault (Kara, 2009).
Gaps in Current research
There are several gaps that exist in the literature regarding sex trafficking. Sex Trafficking has a socio-economic and political basis that is complex and is linked to the global larger processes. Therefore, it is not simply a matter of morals or social waywardness. Therefore, it is imperative to understand that this problem cannot be treated with a casual approach but should be treated as a developmental concern that requires a balanced, layered and integral approach built on a solid strategic framework intended to end the scourge. However, this scourge has not been well understood, and its socio-economic basis has yet to be well researched.
Religion plays a significant role in the lives of its citizens. The actions and attitude of the people are largely shaped by religion. A religious leader and clergymen are held in high regard in most parts of the world. As a result, religion is one of the known methods employed by traffickers to control their victims. Black magic is used in this process and the victim’s body parts such as, pubic hair, menstrual flows, pictures and many more are collected and sent to Juju (Voodoo) priests to ensure the loyalty and obedience of the victims to their trafficker.
The voodoo priests are sometimes unaware of the traffickers’ objectives and are deceived into performing acts that coerce the victims (Kara, 2009). The government needs to incorporate religious organizations and religious leaders to aid in the fight against sex trafficking. If this is not done the war against sexual trafficking will not be won. However, there has been little research that has been done in regards to religion and its role especially in Western Africa where black magic is well propagated (Kara, 2009).
How research can help address the problem
There is the need for different governments to create a reintegration program that seeks to serve the needs of the internally trafficked or the repatriated children. There is a need for the governments to create a program where those that have been trafficked are first addressed medically and financially before they are repatriated to their homes. Many children that have been often trafficked lose touch with their homes, and some of them do not even have homes as they are born in the streets (Crawford, 2008). The persons lack the necessary social services and because there are no programs that exist they do not receive the required assistance that is a need to help the children recover from the abuses that they have suffered.
Research has shown that because of a lack of a repartition program, the deported trafficked persons are often at a higher risk of being re-trafficked and this time severely traumatized (Kara, 2009). Therefore, the different government should create a reintegration program that will attempt to facilitate the reintegration of trafficked persons as well as their relatives through education, skill acquisition and income generating activities. The presence of this program will reduce the occurrence of re-trafficking and will also set the benchmark for the persons that were trafficked not to plunge into poverty.
Governments need to increase the strength of its law enforcement to combat trafficking. Similarly, law enforcement must be adequately trained in issues about sex trafficking. The government should sign agreements with destination and transit countries to decrease the number of women and children being trafficked (Crawford, 2008). The co-operation of the different countries will ensure that indeed there is no person that is trafficked outside and taken into another country forcibly or unknowingly (Kara, 2009).
Trafficking Awareness training course should be implemented in the law enforcement standard curriculum as well as the protection of victims which is the most important of any Memorandum should be integrated. There should also be legislation that is intended to suppress as well as prevent human trafficking. There should be direct legislation regarding sexual exploitation, and a stiff penalty should be put in for the offenders (Crawford, 2008).
Victims, as well as the general public, need to be well educated on sex trafficking. Lack of education is an important reason individuals fall victim to traffickers in the first place. The definition for sex trafficking is somewhat constricted, thus why awareness needs to be raised for the general populations. If victims were well informed about this evil act, they wouldn’t have fallen victims to their traffickers. Similarly, education and empowerment of victims are also paramount; these will offer them a chance to be self-sufficient and increase their effectiveness in educating the public. The culture, particularly the mass media, plays a large role in normalizing prostitution by portraying it as a glamorous, fast and easy way of making money. The government needs to employ the mass media in the combat against sex trafficking, by exposing the evils behind the practice.
This paper will employ the descriptive research method to better understand the psychological impact of sex trafficking victims. There will be the use of 200 sex trafficking victims and their psychological well-being after the trafficking will be assessed. From victim stories and their discussions about how they felt during the ordeal, an evaluation of their mental health can be easily accessed and determined. This study will use secondary research as the main form of getting data. The secondary data will be gotten from Stories of sex trafficking victims that have been published in reputed journals. This will ensure that there is sufficient data to conduct a carefully planned analysis. The study will involve the getting of data from different sources that are accredited as well as peer-reviewed articles that relate to sex trafficking victims.
Data collection from the stories will be analyzed using expressive tables and tools. This will provide a more graphical depiction for data analysis. Bar graphs, pie charts, and tables can be used for pictorial representation.
This is the best method for this research as it gives the different perspectives and works on the limited budget of the researcher.
In this study, descriptive research methods are used. This type of research is a significant one since it involves comprehensive analysis and description of the elements in a survey. It is especially critical in this study since it is used in the description of a population’s characteristics. This type of research mainly deals with the ‘what’ question rather than the how, when or why. This makes this type different from causal research.
Causal research refers an investigative study that seeks to determine the effect of a given thing or behavior on another thing. This is clearly different from descriptive research that examines the characteristics of a given situation or population. Descriptive research is the most current form of research, Thyer (2010). It covers more information compared with the other types of research. This research uses this approach since the subject being analyzed requires qualitative checking of behavior that is not automatic. It is also used since it will provide a more detailed analysis of the subject matter as compared to other approaches.
Some of the research questions that will be explored include
1. What are some of the psychological disorders that the victims of sex trafficking possess?
2. What programs can the government have to ensure that sex trafficking is reduced?
3. What is the role of poverty, religion and inadequate governments in sex trafficking?
This research is a quantitative one. This is because the findings of the research are subjected to various empirical, mathematical or statistical, computational techniques.
The first principle that was considered was that of self-determination which meant that the participants had the right to decide voluntarily if they wanted to participate in the experiment (Crawford, 2008). This was done through e-mail to the publishers of their stories, and formal permission was asked to assess the victim’s psychological conditions based on their stories. Further, the researchers had to obtain informed consent before the conducting of research.
The participants (through the different publishers) that took part in this study were informed about the nature of the study and what the finding of the study will be done with. There was also the issue of asking for an institutional review board for permission to conduct the experiment. This is because the study deals with human subjects and consequently, there is a need to obtain consent from the review board.
There is also a need to understand the impact of human sex trafficking on multiple generations. There are many questions that remain unanswered in the investigation of this topic. Therefore, there is a need to understand the trauma that the second generation faces and the impact that it has on their development (Bernat, 2011).
There is a need for research into the issue of which training methods are best when it comes to combating this menace that is sex trafficking. It is essential for the governments involved engaging in an education mechanism with the authorities implementing and responsible for safeguarding human rights. Training of the police and other law enforcement officials is vital when handling the human trafficking menace. Government authorities’ personnel should undergo training aiming at identifying and as well tracking down the traffickers involved in the overall process. Additionally, government agencies and departments dealing with sex trafficking should be federally mandated.
Often, the federal mandate of this personnel and agencies is through financial support and aiding them with the necessary support during the fight against sex trafficking. Despite the implemented policies, victim smuggling in the border is still rising. Conversely, the government should support the authorities involved in dealing with sex trafficking crimes aiming at easing perpetrator identification and arresting (Bernat, 2011). Educating these departments’ personnel on how sex traffickers cross the borders is vital in ensuring that they have the capability of dealing with the social issue. There is, therefore, a need for further research to show exactly what the government needs to do and the loopholes that currently exist in the current system that can be effectively eradicated.
Future research can be able to look at several issues and address several real-world problems. Poverty can be said to be a major cause of human trafficking and consequently the measures of addressing poverty are crucial. There is a need for the different governments where trafficking is an issue to create different programs that are aimed at alleviating poverty in the country (Bernat, 2011). The eradication of poverty will see the market of human trafficking decline, this is because many people especially women and children are often duped into human trafficking for sexual exploitation because of looking for greener pastures as well as better opportunities in life (Bernat, 2011).
There is a need to involve women when it comes to planning, implementation as well as monitoring the various governmental programs that address the poverty. The lack of representation of women in these important processes means that the programs fail to take into account the needs of women. Therefore, the different governments should make sure that there is a woman in each of the required sectors in a bid to ensure that women are equally represented economically in the country.
Another solution is to create awareness in regards to sexual trafficking in the country; the lack of awareness directly leads to the escalation of human trafficking. More research into trafficking for sexual exploits should be studied; it is of importance to understand that until recently, there was no tangible research on trafficking persons and the victim’s experience (Richards, 2014). The media reports were the ones that were used in the estimation of trafficking, and many of the reports that were published are by governments that hugely underestimated the issues. Further, the overall lack of adequate gender specific data and prevalence of trafficking of persons made it difficult to monitor as well as understand the evolution of the phenomenon in a bid to design strategies that are supposed to combat it.
Adams, C. (2011). Re-Trafficked Victims: How a Human Rights Approach can Stop the Cycle of Re-Victimization of Sex Trafficking Victims. The George Washington International Law Review,
Bernat, F. P. (2011). Human sex trafficking. London: Routledge.
Countryman-Roswurm, K., & Bolin, B. L. (2014). Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: Assessing and Reducing Risk. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 31, 6, 521-538.
Crawford, M., & Kaufman, M. R. (2008). Sex trafficking in Nepal: survivor characteristics and long-term outcomes. Violence against Women, 14, 8, 905-16.
Goodey, J. (2003). Recognising organised crime's victims: The case of sex trafficking in the EU. Transnational Organised Crime : Perspectives on Global Security, 157-173.
Kara, S. (2009). Sex trafficking: Inside the business of modern slavery. New York: Columbia University Press.
Lucchi, S. R. (2010). Victims of Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation.
Moore, A. S., & Goldberg, E. S. (2015). Victims, Perpetrators, and the Limits of Human Rights Discourse in Post Palermo Fiction About Sex Trafficking. International Journal of Human Rights
Nash, T., & Elmquist, S. (2013). Prisoners among us: In the fight to end adult sex trafficking, the line between criminal and victim can become blurred. Style Weekly, 50, 14-16.
Richards, T. A. (2014). Health implications of human trafficking. Nursing for Women's Health, 18, 2.)
Human being usually has an absolute control over others especially when it comes to issues regarding slavery for a long time. Human trafficking is one of such illegal activities where man controls others. This form of trafficking usually manifests in the form of sex trafficking, trafficking for labor reasons as well as organ trafficking. People have been prone to human trafficking due to poverty and their low social status in the society while others appreciate such trade due to financial gain. The most vulnerable victims of human trafficking include women and children who are reduced to sexual commodities. In most cases, the participants in such industry include corrupt officials, rich investors, and tycoons among others. The beneficiaries of human trafficking exploit the broken society of the victims and lure them with lucrative and false promises, and in the end, these people are physically and sexually abused to obtain their submission. In worse situations, the cops who take care of citizens’ security conspire with the traffickers for money or sexual favors in return while the victims are unable to get justice. Sometimes parents participate in such trade to repay debts or for school fees. Therefore, human trafficking should be abandoned.
Human trafficking should be stopped since it leads to sexual exploitation. Even though there are numerous reasons for human trafficking, sexual exploitation leads the pack. Most women and children have fallen victims of sexual molestation, abuse, and torture due to human trafficking. The trafficking happens due to increase in unemployment, political instability, armed conflicts and social discrimination in the society. This activity is especially exhibited in regions such as Asia, Africa and parts of Europe such as Russia, Romania, Ukraine and Moldova among others. Therefore, it should be prohibited in these areas.
Secondly, human trafficking should be banned since the activity is conducted against the victims’ will. In most cases, human victims are misled or lured into human trafficking with false promises hence they usually have a hope of living better lives as well as getting well-paying jobs. In most cases, women and young girls fall victims of such false information whom in turn get involved in hard labor and are sexually exploited. Besides, these women and girls are paid minimal wages in their home countries. Therefore, they are highly vulnerable to such false information hence fall victims of human trafficking. Thus, the activity is currently a major problem that should be eradicated.
Human trafficking leads to psychological manipulation of the victims. It is evident that victims of human trafficking undergo psychological manipulation at the hands of the oppressors and traffickers. The victims are tortured beside being afraid of being killed or arrested. To elaborate on the point, most of these victims live in foreign countries hence the oppressors hide their visas as soon as they reach their destinations. Furthermore, some do not possess documents and are aware that they have violated the rules regarding immigration. Therefore, they typically suffer mental problems as they seek refuge from the oppressors.
In conclusion, human trafficking is a crime that has become profitable in the current society. However, the victims suffer most due to numerous exploitations that they undergo. Therefore, the governments and international communities should tackle the problem through the enactment of treaties and laws prohibiting the trend as well as illegalizing prostitution. On the same note, the potential victims should be aware of human trafficking besides being cautious especially on the dangers of traveling to other countries These measures can substantially mitigate the problem if.