“This crisis is certainly increasing,” says Campbell, adding that COVID actually has played a task as people felt more isolated and had more opportunities to attach online. “It is a rapidly growing criminal enterprise that may be very profitable for people who do it. They make an excess of $280,000 per victim per yr.
The impact of human trafficking
“With sex trafficking, there’s an immense level of complex trauma that happens and these can result in very devastating mental health consequences, including shame, unworthiness, fear, and a disconnect from self,” says Sesley Sloboda, a rehabilitation counsellor who has worked with survivors through the Joy Smith Foundation. She runs a 21-day counselling treatment program focused on addiction recovery and finding the resiliency to heal from the trauma. “These begin manifesting into things similar to addiction, self-harm, depression, eating disorders and other problematic behaviours.”
The counselling treatment program also incorporates arts-based therapy like visual arts and artistic writing.
“We have now these experiences and there’s a lot shame around them,” says Sloboda, who has written and shared a book of poetry that helped her express the trauma she experienced herself from domestic violence and sexual abuse. “So having the ability to say, ‘That is who I’m’ and never hide behind that mask. For people to just accept that was just such a transformative moment in my life personally.”