Trafficking trauma: a review on the psychological effects of human trafficking

Raluca-Ioana Pascale, Calli Tzani, Maria Ioannou, Thomas Williams, Daniel Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The purpose of this study is to investigate the psychological consequences of human trafficking and to reveal the importance of appropriate post-trafficking psychological interventions. Specifically, this study provides a detailed analysis of human trafficking categories, as well as the characteristics of victims and traffickers’ motives. More recent data in the literature show that trauma-coerced attachments and complex post-traumatic stress disorder are also observed among trafficking survivors.

Each of the mentioned mental disorders is presented separately, and results are discussed throughout this study. Consequently, psychological interventions are proposed in accordance with the human trafficking category, survivors’ characteristics and needs and with the relevant personal risk factors determined among victims.

Sex trafficking can have a severe effect on a victim’s mental health, and mental health disorders are substantially higher in human trafficking victims compared to non-trafficked victims or general psychiatric population. Limitations, implications and future recommendations are discussed.

A limited number of past studies evaluated the mental health consequences and identified that survivors have a higher prevalence of anxiety disorders, depression disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-161
Number of pages18
JournalMental Health and Social Inclusion
Issue number2
Early online date7 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2024


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