Rutgers Expert Available to Speak on Psychological Impact on Sex Trafficking Victims


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Rutgers Expert Available to Speak on Psychological Impact on Sex Trafficking Victims

A Rutgers expert is available to speak about the emotional and physical toll that sex trafficking victims experience and how they can regain normalcy in their lives.

Sex trafficking is the fastest-growing form of human trafficking worldwide, affecting about 3.8 million adults. The power imbalance with the trafficker leads victims to experience social isolation, a perceived inability to escape and a sense of helplessness, said Rosario V. Sanchez, a forensic nurse at Rutgers School of Nursing who studies the pathways of entry into and exit out of sex trafficking rings.

“The repeated and cumulative trauma faced by trafficking victims — who are often young —causes them to disconnect from their emotions to cope with their situations and acquire a poor self-concept, leading to trauma bonding with their captors,” Sanchez said. “The traffickers force toxic bonding experiences through coercion, which interferes with daily functions, decision-making and social and emotional development.”

Trauma-informed care principles must be sought out in order to help victims regain normalcy while acknowledging that each victim's unique trauma is all-encompassing of social, mental, and physical stressors, she said. This can be accomplished by providing a comprehensive age-related medical and psychological assessment. This is critical to the development and promotion of an individualized approach to care to build trust and rapport with victims, promote resilience and recovery strategies, and provide validation of their endured fears and complex trauma at the hands of their trafficker.

People can receive help or report a tip of suspected human trafficking in the United States by calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888-373-7888) or by sending a text to Polaris at “BeFree” (233733). In New Jersey, victims/survivors may call New Jersey Human Trafficking Hotline (855-363-6548).

Media interested in interviewing Sanchez can contact her at rossanch@sn.rutgers.edu and/or (732)822-4319.

 

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