Psychology of Immigrants and Sexual Trafficking

Posted: October 23rd, 2013

Psychology of Immigrants and Sexual Trafficking

Human trafficking has been a persistent problem for states and law enforcement agencies for many years. The physical and mental health consequences associated with human and sexual trafficking mainly affect women and as such, makes it a highly vital topic in international and national contexts. The main intention of human trafficking varies but the most common reasons include organ harvesting, prostitution and forced labor. In Canada, human trafficking is a major issue owing to the large number of illegal immigrants that are arrested in the country. The main psychological issues that plague immigrants and other trafficked people include sexual trauma, depression, withdrawal and physical injuries (cuts/ bruises/ soft tissue trauma).

Several psychological theories have been formulated that attempt to explain the psychological and physical challenges that migrants face in the host countries. The acculturation theory argues that people experience different psychological and cultural transformations after being exposed to different cultures. Acculturation can easily be observed in the way individuals change their food preferences, lifestyles and cultures to reflect new environments. Conversely, the culture shock model states that people have extreme reactions when they encounter foreign cultures and lifestyles in different locations. Victims of sexual trafficking normally experience large amounts of cultural shock that results in deep mental and physical complications. The issue of migrant personality is also addressed with a focus on the character traits among immigrants that predispose them to adverse psychological and physical conditions. Different personal attitudes concerning sexual activity determine the behavior of victims of sexual trafficking.

The social identity theory also partly aids in explaining the resultant actions and attitudes that immigrants adopt while in foreign countries. The theory illustrates the connection between loss of initial culture and lifestyle and current psychological conditions. Th last section of the paper addresses the recommendations towards solving human and sexual trafficking across borders. The solutions included economic, social and legislative approaches.

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