The Impact of Human Trafficking on Mental Health of Survivors

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The Impact of Human Trafficking on Mental Health of Survivors

Human trafficking is defined as the unlawful trading of human beings, most often for forced labor, sexual exploitation, or other forms of slavery. It is commonly acknowledged that this cruel practice is a contemporary version of slavery that breaches fundamental human rights. Human trafficking victims are frequently forced or coerced into circumstances where they are exploited. The mental health of those who have experienced this may suffer negatively for a very long time. Survivors of human trafficking frequently experience PTSD, despair, and other mental health concerns.

Problems faced by the survivors of human trafficking   

Survivors of human trafficking often face a wide range of physical, emotional, and psychological challenges due to their trafficking experiences. Commonly reported incidents among survivors include:

  • Physical and emotional abuse: Survivors of human trafficking often endure physical and emotional abuse at the hands of their traffickers. This can include sexual assault, beatings, verbal abuse, and other forms of violence.
  • Trauma: Survivors of human trafficking often experience severe trauma, which can lead to physical and mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance abuse.
  • Stigma and shame: Survivors of trafficking may face stigma and shame from their communities or families due to exploitation. This can make it difficult for them to seek help or reintegrate into society after escaping their traffickers.

Impact on the mental health of the Survivors   

It is hard to keep an individual's mental health stable after such a traumatic event in their life. The mental health of survivors of human trafficking often goes through mental disorders for an extended period. The common impacts on survivors of human trafficking are:

  • Survivors of human trafficking may suffer from mental health challenges, such as depression and anxiety, which can include sadness, hopelessness, and sleep problems.
  • Survivors may also experience trust issues, making it difficult to form healthy relationships with others.
  • They may feel shame or self-blame for their trafficking experiences, resulting in low self-worth and self-esteem.

Mental health solutions to help survivors   

Various therapeutic approaches can be utilized to aid human trafficking survivors in their recovery process. Some of these approaches are:

  • Trauma-focused therapy: This type of therapy aims to assist individuals who have gone through traumatic experiences by teaching them coping mechanisms and strategies to manage symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR is a form of therapy that employs eye movements to help individuals process traumatic memories and decrease the impact of those memories on their mental health.
  • Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR): This therapy teaches mindfulness techniques to help individuals manage stress and promote relaxation.
  • Group therapy: Peer support can be provided to victims of human trafficking through this kind of treatment, which helps them connect with others who have gone through similar things.


Seeking mental health support in these kinds of situations is essential. If you're someone or know someone going through this kind of trauma, connect with Solh Wellness. We provide the best and most personalized mental health solutions with ease of access.

We also discussed this issue with Pallabi Ghosh, an incredible woman who has rescued over 10,000 people from human trafficking. She shared the personal stories of the victim's life and mental health. You can watch this episode on the Solh Wellness App or the official YouTube channel Solh Wellness. Download the Solh Wellness App and take a step towards better mental health and life.