Child Trafficking and the Bond with the Trafficker

Amanda West | September 22 | 11:15 AM - 12:15 PM | Room 3010A

Victims of child trafficking may appear to have formed a positive and close relationship with their trafficker despite the abuse, coercion, and exploitation they have experienced. Terms such as Stockholm Syndrome and trauma bonding are used in the literature pertaining to the psychological trauma experienced by victims to explain this identification and bond with the perpetrator (Cohen, Mannarino & Deblinger, 2006; Adorjan, Christensen, Kelly & Pawluch, 2012). However, more recently, research has focused on the concept of complex trauma, which was first proposed by Herman (1992) and can be summarized as, “symptom clusters reflecting alterations in affect regulation, consciousness, self-perception, perception of the perpetrator, relations with others, and systems of meaning” (Resick, et al., 2012, p.241; Ai, et al., 2013).  The topic of bonding with the trafficker comes as a direct result of qualitative data collected by the presenter with 15 service providers. This session openly examines the attributes of this bonding process among victims of child trafficking, the resulting dynamics, their connection to current interventions, and future strategies in addressing this bond.

Presentation Objectives:

·       To become familiar with outcome data specific to service provider experiences related to the victim bond

·       To examine the complex trauma and the corresponding social constructs that fuel the bond with the trafficker

·       To identify several areas of direct practice that are impacted by the resulting victim resistance and strategies to overcome them

About the Presenter