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A psychosocial approach to working with victims of trafficking with means of sexual exploitation 

A psychosocial approach to working with victims of trafficking with means of sexual exploitation
Chapter:
A psychosocial approach to working with victims of trafficking with means of sexual exploitation
Author(s):

Cataraina Alves

, and Nadia Morales Gordillo

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198833741.003.0007
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date: 18 May 2021

In recent years research about the mental health consequences of human trafficking has increased as the revelation of cases became more common in the media and were more present in social and mental health services. Also called twenty-first-century slavery, human trafficking for sexual exploitation can be understood as a generic term for a series of complex phenomena that cover a broad spectrum of issues, such as globalization, migration, and gender inequality, combined with a series of personal experiences, which include several forms of violence and abuse (mainly interpersonal, psychological, physical, and sexual violence). In this chapter we explore the main symptoms of mental health distress in victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation, as well as some of the cultural determinants for the expression of this distress. Further, we elaborate some of the professional competences a mental health professional should apply, as we discuss the specific idiosyncrasies of the treatment of a victim of trafficking. Finally, we suggest a multidisciplinary intervention with a strong presence of the mental health professional and some of the strategies that both research and our own practice reveal to have been effective in the treatment and recovery of victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation.

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