Vol 23, 2014 Annals of Health Law 65
HEALTH CONSEQUENCES OF SEX TRAFFICKING
are especially relevant. A 2010 survey of 117 Minneapolis women
examined the impact of victims’ age of entry into commercial sex on
substance abuse and HIV risk. 12 Because of these emphases, however, it
discussed physical and emotional health consequences only at a high level
of generality, such as whether participants “ever had an STD” or “ever
experienced emotional violence.” 13 Another 2011 study of 105 Native
American women engaged in commercial sex in Minnesota14 covered a
substantial range of violent experiences, physical and health symptoms, and
drugs, as well as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 15 The study
contains some discussion of other mental health symptoms, but primarily in
the context of determining whether the victims suffered from PTSD.
These studies set the stage for our current, more expansive study, which
looks at over 200 health issues in more detail and across a broader
geographic and ethnic spectrum. As far can be determined, our study is the
first to examine many of the reproductive health issues experienced by sex
trafficking victims, including birth control usage, pregnancies, miscarriages,
and forced and elective abortions. In addition, it analyzes health care access
and interactions and collects data on symptoms experienced both during
and after trafficking.
This study collected data from female sex trafficking survivors. 16 The
study used a mixed-methods approach, combining qualitative data
collection from focus groups and structured interviews with quantitative
analysis. An initial feasibility study using a single focus group was
conducted in November of 2011. Following this initial focus group, a
(2005), available at http://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/userfiles/file/Immigrant Women/
12. Lauren Martin et al., Meaningful Differences: Comparison of Adult Women Who
First Traded Sex as a Juvenile Versus as an Adult, 16 VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN 1252,
13. Id. at 1262.
14. MELISSAFARLEY ET AL., PROSTITUTIONRESEARCH&EDUC.,GARDEN OFTRUTH:
THE PROSTITUTION AND TRAFFICKING OF NATIVE WOMEN IN MINNESOTA, 22 (2011)
[hereinafter FARLEY ET AL., PROSTITUTION RESEARCH], available at http://www.prostitution
15. Id. at 28-30, 35-40.
16. The terms “survivor” and “trafficking survivor” will be used throughout to refer to
the individuals interviewed in this study. “Victim” and “trafficking victim” will refer
generally to individuals who are victims of trafficking as defined by the Trafficking Victims
Protection Act of 2000. 22 U.S. C. A. § 7102( 15) (West, WestlawNext through P.L. 106-
386). The statute defines “sex trafficking” as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation,
provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act.” § 7102( 10).