If You Survived Human or Sex Trafficking, Our Attorneys Are Here to Help.
Despite a worldwide effort to eradicate the capture and sale of humans, thousands of victims face the horrible reality of being forced and coerced into sex acts or labor each year. The trauma and injury they endure are inconceivable, and successfully fleeing their captors is only the beginning of a long recovery process.
Mental and psychological scars from trafficking can affect a victim’s ability to interact with others, maintain healthy relationships, and hold down jobs. Many people walk away from trafficking with physical injury as well. The vile people who inflict these harms capture people for the following reasons:
- Sex Trafficking: Adults are coerced into performing sex acts in exchange for money. In the case of minors, coercion does not need to be a part of the arrangement, as all sex acts with minors are illegal.
- Labor Trafficking: Individuals are brought into the workforce and forced to labor for no or little money under threat of violence or through fraud. The victims may be children or adults.
It’s not possible to just “move on” after undergoing such a traumatic experience. Seemingly simple essentials like maintaining a healthy body weight may take time for anyone who was malnourished. Many victims of trafficking become addicted to drugs during their captivity as they seek for anything that will numb the constant pain and trauma. The list of effects human trafficking has on victims is nearly endless and varies from person to person. The one constant: victims and survivors need all-inclusive care and support as they start living a free life.
Trafficking Is Still a Widespread Problem
In 2018, the National Human Trafficking Hotline identified nearly 11,000 new cases of trafficking that affected 23,000 individuals. These numbers represented a 25% increase over 2017 data. Individuals from all demographics reached out to report their abuse, some at higher rates than others; of the victims identified, the demographic split by age is approximated at:
- 10,500 adults,
- 5,000 children, and
- 7,500 individuals of unknown age.
The gender proportions of the audience were even less balanced:
- 15,000 were women,
- 3,000 were men,
- 100 were another gender, and
- 5,000 did not specify their gender
The disparity here may be due to the fact that sex trafficking, which disproportionately affects women, is much more common than labor trafficking.
Healing from the Harms of Trafficking
Individuals who are trafficked face both mental and physical hardship, regardless of the type of situation they are forced into. Many are unable to contact healthcare resources and therefore suffer unduly from injuries that go untreated. They are also likely to develop mental illness due to the trauma they have been forced to endure.
The injuries a trafficking victim faces will depend on both the type of trafficking and their age. Adults forced into difficult labor in dangerous situations while being denied sufficient food and rest may develop lasting fatigue or pain. They may be involved in workplace accidents that can result in loss of limb, fractured bones, or other disfiguring injuries.
Child labor trafficking often targets small and agile children to perform jobs that full-grown adults find harder or even cannot do. As a consequence of repetitive motions, dangerous workplaces, and alarming job requirements, they may lose limbs, sustain organ damage, develop burn scars, and increase their risk of developing arthritis later in life.
Anyone forced or coerced into sex work has an increased risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. This group may also be afflicted with other sexually transmitted diseases and damage to their urogenital systems. Many face frequent violence.
Mental and psychological injury is also likely to affect the victims of trafficking long after they have left abusive situations. Survivors of long-term trauma may develop complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which includes PTSD symptoms and a raised likelihood of:
- Substance use disorders
- Disordered eating
- Suicidal thoughts and/or actions
- Co-morbid depression & anxiety diagnoses
These issues make it difficult to re-adapt to life after escaping trafficking. Even those who have access to a support system may find it difficult to communicate with advocates, form healthy relationships, and hold down a job.
Human Traffickers Should Pay for the Harm They Inflict
Trafficking can change the course of a victim’s life and leave them in need of support—whether for physical or mental injuries—for the remainder of their life. Anyone involved in this despicable practice can and should be held liable for the hurt they cause. State and federal laws protect victims and survivors of sexual and human trafficking and provide financial remedies to compensate victims for the harm they have endured. These laws hold accountable not just the traffickers themselves, but also any businesses—such as hotel chains, truck stops, and transportation companies—that may allow and facilitate the abuse.
Our legal team wants to help you fight for justice and pursue compensation for all the suffering you faced, and the difficulties that lay ahead of you. Surviving such an ordeal takes a great amount of strength, but you should not have to go it alone. We want to hold those responsible for trafficking accountable, and we have the experience, skill, and knowledge to help you navigate the legal system and seek justice.
Ashcraft & Gerel offers free, private, and confidential consultations with experienced attorneys in the Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC areas. Contact us via our secure online form or call (866) 709-0505 today.