How important are mental health services to survivors of human trafficking?

I believe they are vital. In my opinion, mental health services are the most important services needed after “coming out of darkness into the light,” so to speak.

I have read and heard several different psychologists and mental health providers explain that surviving human trafficking is much like surviving war, and much like war, the aftershocks and effects of trafficking can linger in our minds for years to come … sometimes a lifetime.

Our bodies heal. Some wounds may leave scars that can be daily reminders of our days enslaved, beaten, tortured and sold. The bruises, cuts, broken bones, and burns -- even the branding marks -- heal with time. Our minds do not heal as quickly or like our bodies do. Yet, most of the time, they are treated as if they are one and the same.

Every trafficking story is different, just as every survivor is different. We all cope and heal differently, in different ways and in different time frames. We are individuals after all. We may have experienced similar trauma but that doesn’t necessarily mean we will cope with that trauma in the same way.


Some survivors may not have even realized they were trafficked until much later in life. I know that’s what happened to me. I had huge parts of my life missing. For example, ages 16 -18...

Repetition Compulsion: What Is It and How It Relates To Sex Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation By: David Zimmerman We’ve all heard the phrases before …“She’s such a ho.”“He’s a dirty boy.”“Trash. She was born for it.”“Oh, yeah. Total manwhore.” While people who are very sexually active — to the point of risking safety, integrity andoften becoming sexually exploited — can have various reasons for behaving as they do (and

What’s Porn Got to Do With It?

By Anna Malika, Policy and Survivor Advocate


When I speak throughout the globe on the issue of human trafficking, everyone seems to be stuck on the idea that a “victim” of sex trafficking is a girl walking up and down the streets in a short skirt and high heels. Although victims can come in this form, this is not always the case.


My personal focus as an Overcomer Leader  in the Survivor Movement has been to bring awareness that pornography falls under the category of sex trafficking. Our laws are falling short. As a pre-law student, I understand that prohibiting people from posting on public Internet forums can be a violation of their First Amendment rights. However, when did it become okay to post a photograph or video of someone being raped or performing sexual acts on the computer? Regardless as to what people think is rape or not, we seriously consider someone having sex with multiple people a form of entertainment. Something has to change with how society and our government see pornography.


Porn is also a drug. According to “Porn Changes the Brain,”an article by Fight the New Drug (FTND), the brain is constantly laying down new pathways during new experiences. This process is called neuroplasticity -- neuro meaning “brain” and plasticity meaning “changeability.” Over the years, studies have found that pornography has a similar effect...

By Kimberly Benson About 16 years ago, I wrote my first book and asked the first lady of our church to edit it for me, since she was an English major.  She agreed and was so impressed.  She was also the head of the women’s ministry.  I just knew that she would want me to help her head the women’s ministry after reading my book, but to my dismay, she

Lost in a World of Abuse and Trafficking – My Story

by J. A. Elam


Here are the stats:

According to the United Nations, human trafficking is a $32-billion a year business. There are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today, and that number is growing exponentially.

In the United States, the Department of Justice estimates up to 300,000 children are at risk annually of being trafficked. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the average lifespan of a trafficked child is seven years.

Human trafficking is second only to the drug trade as the fastest growing criminal enterprise. According to the United Nations, human trafficking generates $9.5 billion yearly in the United States. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that the average age of a trafficked child is 13-14 years old. According to Polaris Project, a pimp makes $150,000-$250,000 per child a year; each pimp has an average of four to six children; and the average victim of sex trafficking is forced to have sex between 20-48 times a day. According to the Justice Department, a human trafficker will approach one in three teens within 48 hours of their leaving home.

For seven long years, beginning at the age of five, I was trapped in a hell no one deserves. I was nothing more than a shell of a human being, enduring suffering and torture at the hands...