It’s more than just my body that got hurt: The psychophysiological consequences of sex trafficking

Karen I. Countryman-Roswurm, Victoria A. Shaffer


Those subjugated to sex trafficking endure psychological, physical, sexual, social, and spiritual abuse that results in physiological trauma. Therefore, survivors require access to integrative treatment options that address the consequences of multi-dimensional maltreatment and exploitation. The link between sex trafficking and the psychophysiological consequences of chronic stress and trauma implies the need to develop systems of care that intervene at many levels. This article describes general physiological reactions to stress and trauma, long-term health consequences associated with trauma, and reasons for variability in the effects of chronic stress. In conclusion, recommendations are made for ways in which multidisciplinary professionals can assist in reducing the effects of stress and trauma as well as increase protective factors among sex trafficking survivors.


human trafficking; sex trafficking; victims; stress and trauma; psychophysiological

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Brown Walker Press, USA