Definitions matter!

Human Trafficking – The Federal definition of Human Trafficking defined by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) as:

1.  The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion;

2.  A commercial sex act that is induced through force, fraud, or coercion

3.  A person induced to perform a commercial sex act that has not attained 18 years of age.

That is the official definition.  I personally see trafficking as anyone forced into sex work, unable to exit sex work and who doesn’t keep their own money.  I also count anyone who is working for a pimp.  Because women/girls stay with pimps in spite of the beatings, torture and abuse.  They become brainwashed and programed to stay due to trauma bonding with their abusers.  This is a brain change caused by the trauma she has experienced. Women who have been in the industry are victims and until they get help they will act out of trauma. They should never be treated as a trafficker because survival depends on keeping a pimp happy…..This is how women stay with a pimp and will defend him and will recruit for him and will do all kinds of things that seem hard to understand to someone who has not survived prostitution, but make perfect sense once you know about trauma bonding.

TRAUMA-BONDING by Mirium Goodman, LMSW

What has been brought to light in recent years about the effects of trauma on our brain chemistry also helps to explain the behavior of victims who bond to their abusers.In a nutshell, trauma triggers the fight, flight or freeze reaction in our bodies. The body is programmed to release a series of chemicals at times of actual or perceived danger and times when traumatic memories are triggered, such as in PTSD.   These hormones and chemicals are intended to help us respond in ways which will aid our survival. If you can’t escape, the freeze reactions makes the pain less, so the person can bear it. But when traumatic events, such as being beaten, raped and tortured happen over and over, those chemicals begin to change our brains.  That repeated trauma and triggering results in our brains being in a constant state of “fight, flight or freeze”.  This response becomes the new normal.  Women are at a higher risk of bonding because our bodies release Oxycontin.   If someone is violent to a woman, Oxycontin is released  and she is very likely going to bond to her abuser. If the abuser is the only one present after the abuse, the victim is likely to form a stronger bond to him.




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