• Brooke Ruhl

Life After Trafficking: Health of Past Victims

Human trafficking is a detrimental industry. Over 40 million victims worldwide suffer through all forms of trafficking. Whether it be forced labor, sex trafficking, or child trafficking, victims suffer from extensive physical and psychological trauma. And unfortunately, even after victims have been freed from modern slavery, their health is still negatively affected. Here’s an idea of what health issues victims may suffer from, and some groups that are dedicated to help.

Note: There is a lot of crossover with physical ailments of victims, but these are just some common to the different types of trafficking.

Sex Trafficking

Victims from sex trafficking can be exposed to multiple sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. If victims are used for rape or prostitution, pregnancy is also a possibility. After victims are freed from trafficking, there can also be complicated causing infertility, such as botched abortions or untreated infections. Sex trafficking victims also can have bruises and scars in discreet places, such as ribs and back.

Forced Labor

Victims in dangerous labor situations, like sweatshops, agriculture, or construction are often exposed to an array of long term physical issues. These issues range from chronic and detrimental back problems, cardiovascular problems, hearing and respiratory problems. Labor victims commonly have weak eyes from working in smoky and dim lit places. Lack of medical care and nutrition often play a role in long term negative effects as well.

Child Trafficking

Children in trafficking often exhibit some of the most detrimental psychological abuse imaginable. Mental abuse and torture at a young age causes a variety of long term issues, such as depression, panic attacks, and anxiety or stress disorders. Malnourishment of children is also too common. This can result in dental problems that can affect their health forever.

Groups that help

Check out these three groups dedicated to helping victims with their new reality.

Safe Horizon

Love Justice International


Tweet me! @Brooke_Ruhl and use the hashtag #BRuhly_Trafficked


Brooke Ruhl

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Brooke Ruhl

University of Nevada Reno

2020 by Brooke Ruhl.