Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why Victims Do Not Just Seek Help

For a wide variety of reasons, the women and girls under a pimp’s control will often not self-identify as victims of human trafficking or seek help on their own. The following is a list of common reasons why victims of domestic sex trafficking cannot or will not leave their exploitative situations:
  • Captivity/Confinement – locked indoors, locked in rooms, locked in closets
  • Frequent accompaniment/guarded – interactions are monitored or controlled by the pimp
  • Use and threat of violence – severe physical retaliation (beatings, rapes, sexual assault)
  • Fear – of physical retaliation, of death, or of arrest
  • Use and threat of reprisals against loved ones – against children or family members
  • Shame – about the activities they have been forced to perform
  • Self-blame – brainwashed by the pimp to blame themselves
  • Dependency – on the pimp after years of control
  • Debt bondage – may have a debt to the pimp that they feel they need to pay off
  • Loyalty to the pimp – Stolkholm syndrome, similarities to Battered Women’s Syndrome
  • Social barriers and unfamiliarity with surroundings – due to frequent movement
  • No personal ID or documentation – which is often confiscated by the pimp
  • Distrust of law enforcement – brainwashed to fear law enforcement by the pimp or learned distrust of law enforcement due to direct negative experiences
  • Isolation – from others, from other support structures, from means of relief
  • Misinformation and false promises – have been told lies or deceitful information
  • Hopelessness/Resignation – feelings of no self-worth, disassociation, giving up, apathy
  • Lack of knowledge of social systems – may not understand social service infrastructure or how and where to access help
Information taken from Polaris Project, to read more, visit their impressive and information-rich resource center.

Psychological Trauma:

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