Consequences of Child Sex Trafficking
Individuals who are being trafficked can quickly become isolated from friends, family, and other social circles. This may be due to their personal feelings of guilt and shame or because they’ve been relocated and now live far away from their community. Victims can then become isolated and withdrawn, ultimately losing contact with most people.
Some individuals who return home or escape a trafficking situation may even be excluded from social groups due to the stigma they now face; they may be shunned by their family and friends and feel unloved and unwanted. Unfortunately, this isolation can make them vulnerable to being trafficked again or lead them to return to an abusive lifestyle.
Children with disabilities are not immune to sexual exploitation. In sex-trafficking cases in Florida covering 2007–2014, one-third of the cases involved girls with intellectual disabilities. Children with disabilities often lack a basic understanding of what is and isn’t sexual exploitation. Physical and intellectual disabilities can limit a person’s ability to assertively refuse the propositions or directions of others and to report abusive situations. People with disabilities must often trust others completely, even when they are being taken advantage of.
In addition, victims often suffer from substance abuse problems from being “coerced into drug use by their traffickers or by turning to substance abuse to help them mentally cope or escape the effects.” In 2018 alone, 30.4 percent of reported cases of human trafficking involved substance abuse as a manipulation tactic.
Helping children recover from the effects of sex trafficking is delicate and complex. Children benefit most from having a nurturing and safe relationship with a practitioner. Trauma-informed services provide services specific to the special needs of survivors. The US Department of Health and Human Services concluded that “alternatives to traditional therapies, especially those that build self-esteem, empowerment, and re-connection with self, are considered important adjunct services for this population.” With this purpose in mind, Lotus Rising International was created.