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Trafficking, Mental Health, and Human Rights 

Trafficking, Mental Health, and Human Rights
Trafficking, Mental Health, and Human Rights

Kathleen Maltzahn

and Louella Villadiego

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date: 21 October 2021

While acknowledging other forms of trafficking, Kathleen Maltzahn and Louella Villadiego use trafficked women’s firsthand accounts to illuminate the plight of women trafficked for prostitution. They consider the United Nations 2000 protocol against trafficking, noting the resurgence of concern in conjunction with growing attention to women’s rights internationally, and therefore pressure to extend rights into what had been hitherto regarded as the ‘private’ sphere. They note the linkage to gender-based violence, and the linkage to and lineage with the ancient practice of slavery. The horrors encountered and their impacts on these women’s physical and mental health are outlined. The debate about links of trafficking to prostitution is also reviewed, and the human rights violations inherent in both. The importance of not suggesting that these women are the sum of their negative experiences or that they are crippled by the violence is vital. Growing awareness of human rights frameworks, trafficking, prostitution, and the experiences of these women, is crucial to change.

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