Hepburn and Simon (2013) maintain that while it is a great thing rescuing traffic victims, what many do not fathom is what the victims go through later on in their lives. Human trafficking is one of the most horrifying experiences one may go through. It not only steals and robs one of his or her identity; it has long-term effects psychologically, physiologically, and mentally. These effects take long to heal and many victims end up in miserable conditions later in life. In many instances, typical human trafficking situations involve erroneous criminalization, re-victimization, and poor service provision to the victims. Hepburn and Simon, (2007) argue that while rescue missions help the victims escape from their abductors, little is done to help the victims get back to normal and live a satisfactory life. Discussed below are some of the experiences and effects of what human trafficking victims go through after a harrowing ordeal with their abductors.
In very few instances, do victims get back their normal lives intact as they often come face to face with many psychological struggles in re-discovering themselves and finding a place in the society? The psychological manipulation, physical and mental violence, rape, torture, and forced drug consumption often leave victims in great mental anguish. These are feelings that stay with the victims many years after they gain freedom from their abductors. Without proper medication, the victims find themselves socially unable to get back to the society as before. Negative side effects that take toll on them include feelings of victimization, mistrust towards people, loneliness, and inability to fit back in the society as before, and mind games of fear, ridicule, and rejection. Hepburn and Simon (2013), argue that victims carry these severe mental torments on many years after they are free resulting to development of an unbalanced lifestyle.
Life never gets back to Normal
Little or no attention is ever given to victims of human trafficking after their rescue from their abductors. In many cases, the closest that ever happens is that the government or rescuers deport the victims to their country, take them to their relatives if any, or registered in foster homes, or left in the streets to roam freely. To the society, it seems like gaining freedom is the most important thing that human trafficking survivors need (Hepburn & Simon, 2013). However, the victims need close attention to help them heal and pick up their lives. The daunting trauma experienced at the hands of their abductors often leaves them exposed to a lot of victimization and psychological disorders, which deserve attention by medical practitioners such as psychiatrists.
Lost Hope in Life
The feeling of emptiness, playing victim, weakened personality, and low self-esteem that develop after the experiences in the hands of abductors often rob the victims of their positive attitude towards a stable bright and positive future. This often gives rise to hopelessness in terms of achieving anything worthy of respect or recognition. It takes a lot to rise above the negative feeling that comes with being a victim of human trafficking and get back to normal. At the end of the day, victims rarely attempt to follow their dreams, pursue worthy objectives, or make changes in their lives. Hepburn and Simon (2013) insist that despite everything, victims remain chained to the bitter feelings of the incident. These feelings further dent their positive self-image in addition to creating a negative perception or attitude towards life and people.
These long-term effects are incomparable to the light sentence that human traffickers often receive in the corridors of justice. Even as the victims carry on with the heavy burden of victimization, most of the offenders continue roaming free after serving light sentences or escaping the justice system. It only worsens the situation of the victim bearing the knowledge that his or her abductors are free. The long-term effects of such occurrences only make the society an unworthy place to stay and make out a meaningful livelihood.
Hepburn, S., & Simon, R. J. (2013). Human trafficking around the world: Hidden in plain sight.Columbia University Press.