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Therapy for Human Trafficking Survivors

By: Stephanie Amundson, LPC, CSAC, CCTS-I


Human trafficking is a heinous crime that affects millions of people worldwide, and its victims can suffer from various physical, emotional, and psychological issues. Survivors of human trafficking often struggle with a range of challenges, including PTSD, depression, anxiety, addiction, and dissociation, which can make it challenging for them to lead fulfilling lives.

Therapy is an essential tool for helping survivors of human trafficking recover from their experiences and build healthy, fulfilling lives. In this blog, we'll explore how therapy can help someone who has experienced human trafficking.


Addressing Trauma

Survivors of human trafficking often experience intense trauma, which can manifest in various ways, including flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks, and hypervigilance. Therapy can help survivors address this trauma and work through their emotions in a safe and supportive environment.

One type of therapy that is particularly effective for trauma is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is a goal-oriented therapy that helps individuals identify negative thought patterns and behaviors and replace them with healthier ones. This therapy can help survivors of human trafficking reframe their experiences, learn coping skills, and move forward with their lives.


Healing Relationships

Human trafficking often involves the exploitation of relationships, which can make it challenging for survivors to trust others. Therapy can help survivors heal these relationships and learn to trust others again.

In therapy, survivors can work on building healthy relationships with their therapist and with others in their lives. They can learn communication skills, boundary-setting, and other important relationship-building tools that can help them build and maintain healthy connections.

Coping with Addiction

Many survivors of human trafficking struggle with addiction, often as a coping mechanism to deal with their experiences. Therapy can help survivors understand the root causes of their addiction and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

One type of therapy that can be particularly helpful for addiction is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT is a skills-based therapy that helps individuals learn how to regulate their emotions, tolerate distress, and manage their behavior. This therapy can be useful for survivors of human trafficking who struggle with addiction as a result of their experiences.


Rebuilding Identity

Human trafficking can strip survivors of their identity, leaving them feeling lost and disconnected. Therapy can help survivors rebuild their identity and rediscover their sense of self.

In therapy, survivors can explore their values, goals, and aspirations, and develop a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives. They can work on building self-esteem, confidence, and a positive self-image, which can help them feel more empowered and in control of their lives.


In conclusion, therapy can be a powerful tool for helping survivors of human trafficking recover from their experiences and build healthy, fulfilling lives. Through therapy, survivors can address trauma, heal relationships, cope with addiction, and rebuild their identity. If you or someone you know has experienced human trafficking, therapy may be an essential step towards healing and recovery.



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