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How Mental Health is Affected by Human Trafficking

August 23, 2021

What is human trafficking? Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery that occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud, or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or services against his or her will.

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, Florida ranks third in the United States in human trafficking cases, falling behind California and Texas. In Florida in 2019, there were

  • 896 cases of human trafficking reported
  • 86% of cases involved sex and labor trafficking
  • 82% of victims were female

After their experience, victims may show signs of mental health problems including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. It is important to be aware of the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD and how they may impact a person’s ability to cope and press on with their day-to-day life. 


When a person is depressed, they may have trouble thinking clearly and making decisions, properly caring for themselves, or feeling worthy or motivated to change. 


When a person has an anxiety disorder, they may experience general or specific fears and worries. These fears and worries make it difficult to function normally and they may have trouble making decisions, concentrating, changing their routines, or trusting new people and situations. Making sure you surround yourself with a positive community can help reduce anxiety and determine how we handle stress. 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

When a person suffers from PTSD, they may avoid people, places, and things. They may experience aggressive thoughts, images, and flashbacks, making it difficult to cope during their day to day lives. 

In addition, many traffickers use these mental illnesses to maintain control over their victims, taking advantage of the fact that victims are probably struggling to make informed decisions. To best help survivors of human trafficking, it is important at every stage to be aware of symptoms, maintain patience and understanding, and know where victims can get help and further support. 

Resources available to join the fight against human trafficking 

  • If you believe someone may be a victim of human trafficking, call the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or report an emergency to law enforcement at 911.
  • Learn the indicators, and ways to identify and assist a victim of human trafficking on TIP Office’s Website. Human trafficking awareness training is available for individuals, businesses, first responders, law enforcement, educators, and federal employees. 

When we each take the pledge to check-in with others in our community, we will all play our individual role in breaking the stigma surrounding mental health and help those around us.

Button to Take the Check-In Pledge

Email: info@thecheckinproject.ORG// Phone: 407-870-4897