There are four ways, generally, that an individual can find themselves a victim of human trafficking. They are kidnapped, tricked, born into, or sold into the dark industry. Because 50% of the human trafficking victims are children, many homeless and runaway youths are easy targets for being “snatched” off the streets. Other children are born directly into the industry and will know no other life. Other victims genuinely believed that they were being offered legitimate work, in the fields of food service and other domestic labor, like child care.
Their captors will employ cruel and violent means, when necessary to make certain that their “property” remains subdued and unable, even unwilling, to leave; abuse is a common tool implemented by the traders to ensure obedience. Isolation prevents the victims from having access to the world outside of the reality created by their captors. Fear is the primary element that guarantees the victims remain silent victims. The fear of abuse, sexual assault, and harm to family are universal threats. For international victims in a foreign land, they are fearful of deportation and, often, distrustful of law enforcement, so seeking help from them would be unlikely.
In many countries law enforcement are paid allies of the traffickers. (Logan, Walker, & Hunt, 2009). Lastly, are those victims who are sold into the industry. A 2001 study revealed that, nearly, 800 families, from the Mae Sai region in Thailand, 70% openly admit that they had sold, at least, one daughter into prostitution. ("Dying to leave, " 2003) That is a painfully shocking reality. Despite the millions of dollars spent by the United States Department on conferences, campaigns, and organizations attempting to raise awareness, along with the anti-trafficking policies implemented by, at least, 60 different nations, the capture, charging and incarcerating of traffickers is unbelievably difficult.
The United Nations describes the human trafficking industry as a “heinous act” that brings shame to everyone because we successfully arrest and jail so few. (Marshall, 2010) For the victims being freed from captivity is not, always, an easy blessing. Adapting to their new freedom can be quite difficult, especially when many fear retaliation from those who owned them. These victims generally, suffer from the mental and emotional damage that they are unaware of and may deny the need for mental health treatment.
Also, these individuals may have other issues, as a byproduct of their captivity, which will, also, require help and counseling, like drug abuse and sexually transmitted diseases.
Ashizuka, T. (2000). Ted case studies: Women trafficking from thailand to japan
(thaiwomen case). TED Case Studies, Retrieved from
Axtell, B. (2012, December 3). Selling american girls: The truth about domestic minor
sex-trafficking. Forbes, 2. Retrieved from
Clawson, H. J., & Dutch, N. United States Department of Health and Human Services,
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Development. (2010).
Addressing the needs of victims of human trafficking: Challenges, barriers, and
promising practices. Retrieved from website:
Clawson, H., Dutch, N., Solomon, A., & Goldblatt Grace, L. United States Department of
Health and Human Services, (2009). Human trafficking into and within the united
states: A review of the literature. Retrieved from United States Department of
Health and Human Services website:
Clawson, H. J., Salomon, A., & Goldblatt Grace, L. United States Department of Health
and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and
Evaluation. (2007). Treating the hidden wounds: Trauma treatment and mental
health recovery for victims of human trafficking. Retrieved from website:
Cohen, H. (2006). Psychotherapy treatment for ptsd. PsychCentral, 1. Retrieved from
DeAngelis, T. (2008). Ptsd treatments grow in evidence, effectiveness. American
Psychological Association, 39(1), 1. Retrieved from
Grohol, J. M. (2004, September 21). Types of therapies: Theoretical orientations and
practices of therapists. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/therapy.htm
Logan, T. K., Walker, R., & Hunt, G. (2009). Understanding human trafficking in the
united states. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 10(3), 2-30. Retrieved from
Marshall, A. (2010, July 8). Is thailand losing the battle against human traffickers? read
Tull, M. (2012, November 21). Overview of cognitive behavioral treatments for ptsd .
Retrieved from http://ptsd.about.com/od/treatment/a/PTSDtreatments.htm
Williamson, E., Dutch, N. M., & Clawson, H. J. United States Department of Health and
Human Services, Office of the Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. (2010).
Evidence-based mental health treatment for victims of human trafficking.
Retrieved from website: Evidence-Based Mental Health Treatment for Victims of
Human Trafficking. Retrieved from website:
Dying to leave. (2003, Sept 25). Retrieved from
Types of psychological treatments. (2012). Retrieved from