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Leyte Normal University


P. Paterno St., Tacloban City

Comprehensive Report on the Primary Purposes of Human Trafficking, Long Term

Consequences, and Victim-Centered Approach

Trafficking has been considered as a global problem, often described as modern-day

slavery and is a grave violation to human rights. Every year, thousands of men, women as well
as children fall prey to this criminal activity, in and outside their countries. The number of crime
incidence continues to increase yet due to the hidden nature of the crime, lots of cases are left

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, human trafficking is defined
as the act of recruitment, transportation, transfer, or harbouring, or receipt of persons by means
of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of
abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or
benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose
of exploitation. As it becomes a modern slave trade, there are commonly known reasons of why
such act is done.


The reasons of why traffickers use people they victimized vary in specific aspect. But all
traffickers shares similar goal that is the exploitation on people for profit – which can either way
be a financial gain or material benefit.

Sexual Exploitation

Exploitation happens when someone is unfairly treating

someone in order to benefit from their work. According to
Sexual Harassment/Assault Resources and Education, sexual
exploitation is an act or acts omitted through non-consensual
abuse or exploitation of another person‟s sexuality for the
purpose of sexual gratification, financial gain, personal benefit
or advantage (money, power, status), or any other non-
legitimate purposes. A person trafficked for sexual exploitation
is forced to provide sexual acts against their will for the benefit of the trafficker or is deceived,
coerced or forced to take part in sexual activity.

Trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation is the most

prevalent, most profitable and most common reported form of human
trafficking worldwide (Ministry of Justice). 96% of its victims globally were
women and girls. Places or circumstances where someone could be
sexually exploited are in Brothels (massage/sauna), prostitution, Escort
agencies, Pole/lap dancing, forced marriage, stripping on a web cam, phone sex cells, Internet
chat rooms, Pornography, Mail order brides, and Sex tourism.

Domestic Servitude

A domestic worker or helper is a person who works within their employer‟s home,
performing a variety of tasks. The arrangement becomes exploitative when there are restrictions
on the domestic worker‟s movement as they are forced to work long hours for little pay.
Domestic workers may be trapped in servitude through the use of coercion such as physical or
emotional abuse.

Domestic servitude is a form of forced labour and is defined as slavery or bondage. It is

a hidden form of labour trafficking and most difficult to predict since most incidents happened in
private homes. A person trafficked as a domestic servant may be forced to clean the house, do
the laundry, cook meals, maintain the lawns, and look after the children, elderly relatives, and
pets. Most trafficked domestic servants are required to be available at all times and work every
day, for little or no pay, and they are often verbally, physically, and sexually abused by members
of the household. The trafficked person may have no control over their travel or identity
documents such as their passport, which may be confiscated by the employer/trafficker. These

Bonded/Forced Labour
Debt bondage is defined as one force or coercion using bond or debt to keep a person
under subjugation. It is a method of control and prevents trafficking victims from escaping. In the
context of human trafficking, a person trafficked for forced labour is made to work for little or no
remuneration, or may be paid a full wage, but then forced to return most of it in cash to the
trafficker. Forced labour refers to situations where people are coerced to work often under threat
or punishment.
The following are a number of means through which a person can be coerced:
- Use of violence or intimidation
- Accumulated debt
- Retention of identity papers
- Threat of exposure to immigration authorities

Forced/Coerced Organ Removal

Human organs are in high demand around the world for people who need a replacement
but cannot find a legitimate donor. The trafficking in organs involves removing a part of the
body, commonly the kidneys and livers, to sell often as an illegal trade. The organ removal is
often conducted in clandestine clinics, with little or no attention given to the trafficked person‟s
post-operative care. Organs can be taken in a variety of ways:

 Trade – a victim formally or informally agrees to sell an organ but is then cheated
because they are not paid for the organ, or are paid less than the promised price.
 Ailments – a vulnerable person is treated for an ailment, which may or may not exist,
and the organs are removed without the victim‟s knowledge.
 Extortion – a victim may be kidnapped from their family and organs are removed
without consent.
The organ is sold on the international black market for large amount of money; if the
trafficked person survives the surgery, they may receive a tiny portion of that money.


Given the nature of human trafficking, its consequences are mostly hidden and
unnoticeable. Since trafficking is primarily based on exploitation, trafficked persons may be
subject to physical, psychological, and social impacts. Most victims have suffered from
traumatic events and might adapt psychological tactics to cope with the effects of these events.
Victims of trafficking are generally exposed to traumatic experiences as a result of their inability
to predict and control events during the trafficking process. The essence of trauma is that it
overwhelms the victim‟s psychological and biological coping mechanisms. This occurs when
internal and external resources are inadequate to cope with the external threat. Complex trauma
involves multifaceted conditions displayed below.


Depression, anxiety, and hostility are symptoms frequently detected among victims of
trafficking. Depression as a symptom reported by human trafficking victims were described as
an overall and consistent feeling of sadness, loneliness, feelings of worthlessness,
hopelessness about the future, and a significant reduction in interest.


Symptoms of anxiety are reported as one of the most prevalent cases experienced by
trafficked persons. This symptom is normal however, to victims of human trafficking; they
regularly experience disproportionate levels of anxiety such as excessive nervousness, fear,
apprehension and worry.


Victims of human trafficking may dislike themselves for the situations they have
encountered. Anxiety and low self-esteem can also create loneliness which only reinforces an
individual‟s negative self-image.


Dissociation or dissociative disorders are most common to victims of human trafficking in

prostitution; those who were in escort, street, massage, and strip club and brothel prostitution.
Dissociation is an escape and a wide array of experiences from mild detachment from
immediate surroundings to more severe detachment from physical and emotional experiences.
This is one way to handle an overwhelming fear and pain and helps one to deal in such a way
with the experience of traumatic abuse.
Substance Abuse

Some victims of human trafficking struggle with substance

abuse, which may have been exploited by the trafficker/s. One
reason for this is the recruitment through substance use. Traffickers
targets individuals with existing substance abuse issues to recruit
into a trafficking situation. Traffickers may also use substance
addiction to keep victims in a trafficking situation. It may be seen or
considered as a reward or punishment, or as a way to decrease the
victim‟s ability to resist trafficking and abuse. Some victims of human
trafficking also abuse substances as their coping mechanism and as
a response to the trauma of their trafficking victimization.

Self-destructive behaviour

Victims of any forms of human trafficking may display harmful behaviours and attitudes
as a result of the past events or trauma which is uncontrollable to them. Self-harm is the
extreme form of self-destructive behaviour. Some victims use it as a coping mechanism to
provide temporary relief of intense feelings or emotions. According to a new study published in
JAMA Paediatrics, self-harm and suicide attempts are common among children and
adolescents who have been trafficked for forced labour or sexual exploitation.


Victims of human trafficking who have experienced early victimization are 3 times more
vulnerable to different exploitations during their adult stage. This occurrence is referred to as
revictimization (re-victimization) or simply when a survivor of a situation is victimized again
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Report). Usually, victims of human trafficking who
experienced sexual abuse are more likely to experience adult sexual victimization.

Stockholm syndrome

Oftentimes, traffickers target victims whom they seen as vulnerable or currently

struggling with mental issues, or has a history on emotional abuse. Although this isn‟t always
the case, most traffickers believe in the rate of success to prey on these individuals since he or
she has the ability to psychologically manipulate the target. Aside from putting chains around
the victim‟s wrists, traffickers also engage in „grooming‟ or the method enforced to targets in
their early stage so as to enable and gain trust and loyalty from the victims. Stockholm
syndrome is a condition which causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their


Victims of trafficking often experience serious mental health risks such

as HIV/AIDS. More often than not, victims of human trafficking have a high
risk to become infected to sexually transmitted pathogens. Several studies
reported that significant percentages of trafficking victims are HIV positive. In
addition, some victims are co-infected with other diseases such as hepatitis B, tuberculosis or
syphilis. These results from unprotected sexual activities that many trafficking victims are forced
to have.


The Victim-centered approach is defined as the systematic focus on the needs and
concerns of a victim to ensure the compassionate and sensitive delivery of services in a non-
judgemental manner. This approach seeks to minimize retraumatization associated with the
criminal justice process by providing the support of victim advocates and service providers,
empowering survivors as engaged participants in the process and providing survivors an
opportunity to play a role in seeing their traffickers brought to justice.
Too often, victims are required to wait for too long periods of time for critically needed
services. Service providers assist large number of clients with limited resources to address all
their needs. Time pressures on overburdened police departments often place the priorities of
other cases ahead of the trafficking case/victim. Heavy caseloads in prosecutor‟s offices can
often take the focus off the victim‟s need for sensitive treatment and helping the victim
understand what occurs during the prosecution case. When law enforcement prosecution,
service providers, or other professionals are involved in a case, the needs of victims mist remain
central in the process.
In victim-centered approach, the victim‟s wishes, safety, and well-being take priority in all
matters and procedures.

The victim-centered approach is an approach to combat human trafficking, which

places equal value on the identification and stabilization of victims and providing immigration
relief, as well as the investigation and prosecution of traffickers. When law enforcement,
prosecution, service providers, or other professionals are involved in a case, the needs of
victims must remain central in the process. Victim who can tell their story and testify as a
witness are key to successful human trafficking investigations and prosecutions. Trafficking
victims may fear law enforcement, not identify themselves as a victim, cannot tell a complete
story or use rehearsed responses; or identify with the trafficker. When encountering a potential
victim, it is important to remember that victims may not be comfortable coming forward and
working with law enforcement. They need help to feel stable, safe and secure.


All professionals involved in human trafficking cases must advocate for the victim. Avoid
activities that can ostracize a victim, those that mirror the behaviour of a trafficker, however
unintentionally, by limiting or not offering a victim choice in the recovery process. It will require
patience, empathy, and compassion from you, as well as from your partners involved in the


In the context of victim advocacy and service provision, the terms „victim‟ and „survivor‟
both have significance and implications. The word victim is referred to as individuals who
suffered harms as result of criminal conduct. This term has legal implications within the criminal
justice process and refers to an individual who suffered harm as a result of criminal conduct.
The laws that give individuals particular rights and legal standing within the criminal justice
system use the term “victim.” Federal law enforcement uses the term “victim” in its professional
capacity. On the other hand, survivor’, is used to recognized the strength and courage in
overcoming victimization. This term is used widely in service providing organizations to
recognize the strength and courage it takes to overcome victimization. Both terms are used in
the context of victim identification, outreach, and service startegies.