Episode 5 is the last part of our series of episodes dedicated to human trafficking. In this episode, you will hear Jess’s story of surviving trafficking. Our conversation exposes some of the many myths about the crime of human trafficking (which often includes sex trafficking), including who perpetrates it, who experiences it, and the context within which it occurs.
Traffickers do not usually target victims they do not know. In fact, like other types of sexual harm, survivors are usually trafficked by someone they know, such as a family member. People often assume that trafficking involves traveling or transporting a person. While this is sometimes the case, as Dr. Branchini-Risko noted in Episode 4, trafficking does not require movement across boarders. And as we hear in the case of Jess, a child may be trafficked or exploited from their own home. Furthermore, people who are trafficked are often not held against their will but may be controlled through other means, like a lack of financial independence.
Jess’s story of healing is emblematic of what many survivors of sex trafficking experience. The psychological harm may take many years to heal and often include post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation.
Additional Resources and Organizations
Centering Survivors – Polaris Project
Survivors of Human Trafficking Recount Experiences, Provide Advice – U.S. Department of Defense
Faces of Human Trafficking – Office for Victims of Crime (OVC)
Helping Human Trafficking Victims – Center for Prevention of Abuse
Jess grew-up in the duality of New York City and Seattle. They settled in the Pacific Northwest and earned their bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, from the University of Washington. While attending undergrad courses, Jess found a passion for Restorative Justice and a desire to influence policies responding to real life circumstances. Advocating for change, Jess challenges systemic racism and the false narratives of popular culture.
After several years in the Social Justice arena, Jess made the decision to pursue their master’s degree in Social Work to expand their professional process. Embracing adversity and a colorfully diverse background, Jess is focused on the advancement of Transformative Justice and continues their commitment to harm-reduction and enhancing repair, one person at a time.
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