Earlier this month the Journal of Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences published a paper co-authored by Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) staff. The paper ‘Health consequences of sex trafficking: A systematic review’ . The Journal of Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences is part of the Open Access publishing of Nepal Journals OnLine (NepJOL) supported by INASP.
The review reminds us that sex trafficking is one of the most common forms of human trafficking globally. It is associated with health, emotional, social, moral and legal problems. The victims of sex trafficking when returned home are often ignored. This review explored the health consequences of sex trafficking among women and children. A total of 15 articles were included covering health risks and well-being related to sex trafficking. Sexual and physical violence among victims such as rape and repetitive stress and physical injuries were common. The prevalence of STI (sexually transmitted infections) and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) was also reported as high. Being trafficked at a young age, having been in brothels for a longer period and sexual violence and forced prostitution were linked with a higher risk for HIV infection. Physical health problems reported included headaches, fatigue, dizziness, back pain, memory problem, stomach pain, pelvic pain, gynaecological infections, weight loss, lesions or warts, unwanted pregnancies and abortions. The studies on mental health reported that depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were commonly reported health consequences among sex trafficking victims.
The authors of the review concluded that there is a compelling need for interventions raising awareness about sex trafficking among young girls and women most at risk of being trafficked. Most studies in this review have focussed on the physical health problems of the trafficked victims although there is also remarkable mental burden amongst those victims. Key policy makers, government officials, public health officials, health care providers, legal authorities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) should be made aware about the health risks and consequences of trafficking. Trafficking consequences should be recognised as a health issue and all the sectors involved including regulating bodies should collaborate to fight against sex trafficking
Related research in this field at Bournemouth University include the Sexual Spaces Project by Prof. Mike Silk and Dr. Amanda De Lisio on ‘Rio’s sex workers after the Olympics’ and the The Gay and Grey Project, funded through a Big Lottery Grant and led by Prof. Lee Ann Fenge.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH)
- Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E., Sharma, A., Bissell, P., Poobalan, A., Wasti S.P. (2018) Health consequences of sex trafficking: A systematic review Journal of Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences, 4(1): 130-149.