Vol 23, 2014 Annals of Health Law 64
HEALTH CONSEQUENCES OF SEX TRAFFICKING
touched on the problems that the instant study examines, but were each
limited to a single city and examined a comparatively small number of
health consequences. 8 The most comprehensive early study interviewed
victims in five U.S. regions and discussed violence at length while touching
on both physical and mental health consequences. 9 However, it was small
and somewhat narrow in focus. 10
While other studies have been conducted, 11 two Minnesota-based studies
DRUG ISSUES 789 (2000); Nabila El-Bassel et al., Correlates of Partner Violence Among
Female Street-Based Sex Workers: Substance Abuse, History of Childhood Abuse, and HIV
Risks, 15 AIDS PATIENT CARE & STDS 41 (2001).
8. See Roberto J. Valera et al., Violence and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a
Sample of Inner City Street Prostitutes, 16 AM. J. HEALTH STUD. 149, 149 (2000) (studying
violence generally and PTSD, but not physical symptoms); Roberto J. Valera et al.,
Perceived Health Needs of Inner-City Street Prostitutes: A Preliminary Study, 25 AM. J.
HEALTH BEHAV. 50, 50 (2001) (discussing five types of violence, sixteen physical
symptoms, PTSD, and substance use); JODY RAPHAEL & DEBORAH L. SHAPIRO, CTR. FOR
IMPACT RESEARCH, SISTERS SPEAK OUT: THE LIVES AND NEEDS OF PROSTITUTED WOMEN IN
CHICAGO 4 (2005) [hereinafter RAPHAEL & SHAPIRO, SISTERS], available at
http://www.impactresearch.org/documents/sistersspeakout.pdf (interviewing 222 victims in
Chicago on 39 chronic physical health problems as well as experiences of violence and
substance abuse, but not mental health).
9. JANICE G. RAYMOND & DONNA M. HUGHES, COAL. AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN WOMEN,
SEX TRAFFICKING OF WOMEN IN THE UNITED STATES 7 (2001), available at
10. Id. at 29 (interviewing only ten participants).
11. In 2004-2005, researchers published a series of Miami-based studies focusing on
drug use, social service needs and barriers to them, and the connections between an abusive
past, mental health problems, and HIV risk. See Hilary L. Surratt et al., Sex Work and Drug
Use in a Subculture of Violence, 50 CRIME & DELINQUENCY 43, 46 (2004); Steven P. Kurtz
et al., Barriers to Health and Social Services for Street-Based Sex Workers, 16 J. HEALTH
CARE POOR & UNDERSERVED 345, 345 (2005) [hereinafter Kurtz et al., Barriers]; Hilary L.
Surratt et al., The Connections of Mental Health Problems, Violent Life Experiences, and the
Milieu of the “Stroll” with the HIV Risk Behaviors of Female Street Sex Workers, 17 J.
PSYCHOL. & HUM. SEXUALITY 23, 23 (2005). These studies saw high rates of participation
and asked respondents about their overall health condition but did not discuss specific
physical health symptoms and limited participation to victims who were current drug users
and still active in the commercial sex trade. See, e.g., Surratt et al., supra, at 46; Kurtz et al.,
Barriers, supra, at 346. Another 2004 study made unique contributions to the literature,
revealing disturbing mortality rates among women in prostitution in Colorado and
concluding that “[w]omen engaged in prostitution face the most dangerous occupational
environment in the United States.” John J. Potterat et al., Mortality in a Long-term Open
Cohort of Prostitute Women, 159 AM. J. EPIDEMIOLOGY 778, 780-82, 784 (2004). The study
also found that “active prostitutes were almost eighteen times more likely to be murdered
than women of similar age and race during the study interval.” Id. at 782. The study did
not, however, address specific physical and mental health symptoms. Another 2005 study
examined the role of medical care providers, but interviewed only twenty-one victims in
three cities and was primarily qualitative. FAMILY VIOLENCE PROT. FUND, TURNING PAIN
POWER: TRAFFICKING SURVIVORS’ PERSPECTIVES ON EARLY INTERVENTION STRATEGIES