Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most prevalent diagnosis’ trafficking and prostitution survivors are faced with after leaving a life of sexual exploitation. PTSD, simply put, is the result of trauma. From the physical torture and emotional manipulation often inflicted by the pimps to the continual sexual assault they endure from the tricks, trauma is truly the cornerstone of sex trafficking and prostitution.
Trauma can be categorized in numerous ways through complex and non-complex situations. For example, you can develop PTSD from a single traumatic event, like a car accident. However, PTSD can also occur from something much deeper, like being physically abused by a caretaker as a child.
Trauma is multi-faceted and oftentimes difficult to navigate. The definition of trauma and the subsequent signs are described by professionals as “the response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope, causes feelings of helplessness, diminishes their sense of self and their ability to feel the full range of emotions and experiences.”