Trauma and its Aftermath for Commercially Sexually Exploited Women as Told by Front-line Service Providers

“Commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls through forced prostitution and sex-trafficking is a human rights and public health issue, with survivors facing complex mental health problems from trauma and violence. An international and domestic problem, the average age of recruitment into sex-trafficking is between 11 and 14 years old. Given its secrecy and brutality, such exploitation remains difficult to study, which results in a lack of knowledge related to trauma and how best to develop specific services that effectively engage and meet the unique needs of survivors. This qualitative research, using thematic analysis, explored the stories of trauma and its aftermath for commercially sexually exploited women as told by front-line service providers. Three themes emerged regarding the experience of sex-trafficking and its outcomes-Pimp Enculturation, Aftermath, and Healing the Wound-along with seven subthemes. These have important implications for all service and healthcare providers.”

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