Vol 23, 2014 Annals of Health Law 68
HEALTH CONSEQUENCES OF SEX TRAFFICKING
survivors did not answer a question, the response was coded as “N/A.”
This coding system allowed the spreadsheet program to count how many
survivors gave each response by counting how many cells in a column were
filled with a given number. The totals were then calculated as percentages
both of all survivors and of those who answered the particular question.
The results section analyzes the frequency with which individual symptoms
and experiences were reported by the survivors in this study as well as the
percentages of victims who reported at least one symptom or experience in
a given category.
A. Physical Health Symptoms
I am telling you that you have to not be in your sober mind to run these
tricks—you just can’t do it straight so everyone on the street is hooked on
some drug. I’ve done drugs so long I have really hurt my body. I have
kidney disease, liver problems, hepatitis C, high blood pressure,
polymyositis [an inflammatory muscular disease], and fibroid tumors.
Survivors suffered tremendously, virtually without exception. Out of
106 survivors, 23 105 ( 99.1%) reported at least one physical health problem
during trafficking. The most frequently reported physical problems were
neurological— 91.5% of respondents24 reported at least one neurological
symptom and 82.1% specifically reporting memory problems, insomnia, or
poor concentration. Headaches or migraines ( 53.8%) and dizziness ( 34.0%)
were also common symptoms. The trafficking experience ravaged the
general health of victims as well, with 85.7% reporting at least one
symptom in the general health category. In particular, the respondents’
dietary health was often poor. Severe weight loss ( 42.9%), malnutrition
( 35.2%), loss of appetite ( 46.7%), and eating disorders ( 36.2%) were
especially common; 71.4% of respondents reporting at least one of these
The toll of constant commercial sexual exploitation and physical abuse
on the victims led to a range of additional conditions. Physical injuries
group statements were consulted only in the few instances where a questionnaire answer was
unambiguous and the survivor’s statements clarified it.
23. One participant did not fill out the first component of the survey.
24. Because many interviewees did not answer every question, percentages given are of
respondents who answered the particular question, not necessarily of all 107 interviewees.