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Effects of Human Trafficking on Women


In the United States of America, one of the most valued rights is the right not to be subjected to persecution. However, every year, between 14.5 and 17.5 thousand persons, mostly women and children, are brought into the United States for slavery or forced human resources. Victims of human trafficking often have detrimental effects on both their mental and physical health. This article explains what human trafficking is, how it impacts the victims’ health, and what registered nurses may do to assist individuals who have been victims of trafficking.

Keywords; human trafficking, women, psychological, physical, impacts

Effects of Human Trafficking on Women

Human trafficking is modern slavery that violates fundamental human rights and is a profitable business for organized crime groups. “Trafficking in persons” is defined by global law as “the recruitment, mass transit, move, detaining, or receipt of individuals using blackmail or use of violent means or other methods of coercion, of kidnappings, of theft, of deceit, of the misuse of authority or a placement of insecurity, or the offering or accepting of payouts or benefits to accomplishing the permission of an individual’s clutching power over another human” (Le, 2018). For there to be trafficking, there must be an act, a method, and a consequence. Prostitution and other types of sexual abuse, compelled labour or services, slavery and other forms of subordination, and organ harvesting qualify as exploitation.

When any methods are employed, the victim’s permission is moot. Human trafficking victims often end themselves in exploitative professions like prostitution or commercial sex work. Human trafficking may also shape exploitative employment arrangements like those seen in domestic slavery, restaurants, sweatshops, and migrant farms. Even if the methods are not employed, trafficking still occurs when a kid (anyone under 18) is the target of the activity (Thomas-Hope, n.d.). Human trafficking may and can occur inside nations’ borders; crossing international boundaries is not a prerequisite. How to Spot Human Trafficking Victims Human trafficking victims may seem similar to patients visiting general practitioner (GP) waiting rooms, health clinics, or emergency departments. Children, teens, adults, and even pregnant women may all fall prey to this.

The problem statement and research questions

Human trafficking and the resulting abuses of the victim’s rights may have devastating effects. Physical, reproductive, and mental health issues are all on the rise among women who have been trafficked. Those who help victims of trafficking should be informed of the severe and interconnected health implications of this crime. This research answers the following question; How about the mental or physical impacts of human trafficking on women? How might the harm caused by human trafficking be mitigated?

Physical impacts

Individuals who have been trafficking victims often experience severe physical abuse, weariness, and sometimes famine. Common injuries include those linked with an attack, such as fractures, concussions, bruises, and burns. Some of these injuries are so severe that they may need ongoing medical care for quite some time. Trafficked women may experience these health effects similar to that faced by victims of chronic torture because of the cumulative nature of the abuses to which they were exposed. As with other forms of physical violence, sexual assault may leave its victim with lasting psychological and physiological scars. To engage in sexual activity with another person against their will is sexual assault.

There is a wide range of possible sexual encounters during an attack. Sexual assault may take many forms, including unwanted touching, groping, oral sex, anal sex, penetration with an object, and sexual intercourse against women. Victims of human trafficking are typically coerced into engaging in sexual activity, either directly or indirectly, by using physical force, threats of physical strength, coercion by those in positions of power, bribery, deception, or intoxication. Due to the trauma, she has encountered, a woman who has been a sexual assault victim may endure various psychological and bodily health problems.

Problems with reproductive health

Sexually transmitted infections (STDs) and other gynaecological disorders are a real threat to the health of ladies who participate in prostitution. Women forced into prostitution might not be exposed to or allowed to utilize contraception, such as condoms or regular reproductive examinations. Unwanted pregnancies and losses are risks these women must take. Prostitutes have far higher rates of abortion, sterilization, and infertility than the general population. Forced commercial sex activities may also cause victims to suffer from gynaecological health issues. Forced abortions, miscarriages, and STIs are some health issues trafficked women face (“Medical Education on Human Trafficking,” 2015). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stress, depression, substance addiction, and dietary disorders are only some adverse outcomes of physical and sexual assault on mental and emotional health. Extreme forms of coping with mental anguish include self-harm and suicide. In addition to physical health, victims of trafficking also need mental health services.

Diseases spread by sexual contact

Women trafficked for sexual exploitation are at extremely high risk of having temporary physical diseases and long-lasting mental disorders, which may radically affect their capacity to navigate the social environment. HIV infections, gynaecological problems, drug misuse, and the long-term impacts of physical harm are all things that survivors may have to contend with. In addition, survivors of violent exploitation may develop a deep distrust of caretakers, which may significantly impact the quality of care they get. Caregiving is disrupted when the victim’s sense of safety and trust is taken from them by a sex trafficker. In exchange for the food and housing, traffickers give, victims are subjected to sexual assault and coercion during labour. Ironically, the same hand that provides sustenance, shelter, and the prospect of protection may also do harm or subject one to persecution. A survivor’s capacity to escape exploitative conditions, emotionally recover, and participate in programs may be negatively impacted by the extreme rupturing of attachment connections.

Survivors report feeling hopeless and helpless after being isolated, deprived of agency, and subjected to involuntary servitude; they have difficulty feeling competent in everyday life; they feel ashamed of their victimization, and they are angry that they were deprived of educational and occupational opportunities. Many people are struggling to find their way in the world. Managing intense emotions and tense interactions is not easy. Overall, sex trafficking has far-reaching, profound, and mostly unexamined repercussions. Psychological distress symptoms can show in cultural idioms that aren’t captured by diagnostic labels. Systems of care that take these experiences into account in a meaningful way have a far better chance of being effective.

It’s important to remember that victims of trafficking don’t only endure physical pain during captivity; their emotional pain continues long after they’re free (that period does indeed end). ). Survivors of human trafficking in West Bengal, the state with the most significant number of documented cases in 2016!, were the focus of a touching article published by The Hindu. One woman who had been a victim of sex trafficking found it impossible to leave the house after returning home due to the “social boycott” she and her relatives experienced. Women who have already been through tremendous trauma are further victimized by the stigma they face in society and the self-stigma they experience as a consequence of absorbing these negative preconceptions. (Hopper & Gonzalez, 2018). Victimized women may acquire post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), leading them to avoid behaviour such as avoiding specific locations, persons, or things (s). They may be unable to deal with the present because of persistent, unwanted thoughts, pictures, and flashbacks. Also, they could have problems focusing and suffer shifts in mood.

Use of Substances

Obtaining the drug, using it, and recovering from its effects may take up a significant amount of time for a person, regardless of whether they are using it for self-medication or are addicted to one or more narcotics. They have very little time to assess the current state of affairs and formulate a plan for how things may be improved due to this. When you are high or going through withdrawal, it isn’t easy to think clearly and make decisions that are in your best interest (Tsutsumi et al., 2008). This might lead to suicidal thoughts and acts on the part of the individual. In addition, to establish control over their victims and give themselves the ability to manipulate and exploit them, drug traffickers will provide their victims with narcotics or restrict their access to other substances.


Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and even sexual abuse are all suffered by victims of human trafficking. That’s why it’s crucial to provide the medical, educational, and emotional aid that victims of disasters need to start again. Although this article cannot possibly include all of how victims of trafficking may be affected, we believe it demonstrates why our work at Her Future Coalition is so important. As we read this, parents and children are being trafficked and mistreated; thus, it’s time to act.


Hopper, E. K., & Gonzalez, L. D. (2018). A Comparison of Psychological Symptoms in Survivors of Sex and Labor Trafficking. Behavioural Medicine44(3), 177–188.

Le, P. D. (2018). Human Trafficking Health Research: Progress and Future Directions. Behavioural Medicine44(3), 259–262.

Medical Education on Human Trafficking. (2015). AMA Journal of Ethics17(10), 914–921.

Thomas-Hope, E. (n.d.). Human Trafficking in the Caribbean and the Human Rights of Migrants. 15.

Tsutsumi, A., Izutsu, T., Poudyal, A. K., Kato, S., & Marui, E. (2008). The mental health of female survivors of human trafficking in Nepal. Social Science & Medicine66(8), 1841–1847.


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