Survivors of sex trafficking often face complex and complicated situations upon exiting. Stigmatization is a barrier that challenges efforts to heal and rebuild relationships. This study aimed to identify how survivors of trafficking understand the stigma from their families and communities, and how this experience of stigma affects their overall sense of self-concept and belief in their ability to cope and overcome their predicament. Results from interviews with six survivors of trafficking indicate that survivors carry multiple layers of stigma that are worsened by the addition of stigma associated with being trafficked for prostitution. Negative evaluations about the woman maintain attitudes that exclude and separate her from social and employment opportunities. However, many of the participants described having the ability to draw from their personal strength and resources to overcome stigma. Recommendations for providers and implications for future research are provided.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Human trafficking victims; Sexual abuse victims; Interpersonal relations -- Psychological aspects; Stigma (Social psychology)

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Bryant-Davis, Thema;