Predictors of Mental Health of Female Survivors of Sex-Trafficking

Irina Churakova, MA  | September 20 | 2:45-3:45 PM | Room 2592

Topic: Research | Knowledge Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Mental health problems associated with sex-trafficking appear to be enduring, with studies reporting a high prevalence of diagnosed disorder 6 months post-trafficking, and a slower decline in symptoms of physical health problems. We explored the association between traumatic events, psychological characteristics and mental health among 78 girls and women trafficked for sexual exploitation who were rescued and have been in contact with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) post-trafficking services. Multivariate logistic regression models based on screening data were fitted for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety separately, and adjusted for psychological characteristics to explore the pathways through which trafficking impacts mental health to inform interventions to promote recovery. Psychological typology of female survivors of sex-trafficking was portraited based on the existing systems of attitudes and values in communication and interpersonal interaction between the women and their family, friends and peers, and reported to be predictive of various cognitive, emotional and socio-psychological characteristics. The total index of mental distress, as indicated by a composite score of PTSD, depression and anxiety, was suggested to be less associated with the previously acquired psychological resources for coping with sexual slavery, and more determined by the severity of trafficking-related trauma exposures.

Presentation Objectives:

·  Describe risk factors for mental health of female survivors of sex-trafficking.

·  Exhibit psychological portraits of the survivors.

·  Identify psychological resources for coping with sexual slavery.

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