Image credit: Wabi TV
Whenever people hear of a trafficking victim being rescued, we often think “That’s great! The worst is over. Now that they have been rescued, it’s all going to be smooth sailing for that person.” In actuality, getting rescued is only the beginning. The impact of human trafficking on one’s mental health is extremely damaging. Many victims of human trafficking suffer the effects of PTSD.
Let’s start out with a definition of what PTSD is. According to the Mayo Clinic, post-traumatic stress disorder (better known as PTSD) is a mental health condition “that is triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it.” These “events” can include actual or life-threatening violence, serious injury, or sexual abuse or exploitation. In many cases, when we hear the word “PTSD,” we think of veterans, as they witnessed events none of us can fathom. However, human trafficking victims do get overlooked when discussing PTSD.
- Re-experiencing the trauma through intrusive distressing recollections of the event, flashbacks, and nightmares.
- Emotional numbness and avoidance of places, people, and activities that are reminders of the trauma.
- Increased arousal such as difficulty sleeping and concentrating, feeling jumpy, and being easily irritated and angered.
You may be wondering how applied behavior analysis could be used to treat PTSD. There’s a concept, which is basically the building blocks of ABA. They’re called the ABCs of ABA: Antecedent, Behavior, and Consequence. An antecedent is something that triggers a certain behavior. It is something you can hear, smell, see, or touch. Behavior is how that individual responds, either physically or non-physically. The consequence is the end result of what behavior occurred. A behavior analyst will work with a client to see what antecedent causes the behavior, and how to reinforce good behavior, while slowly stopping bad ones.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious issue. We cannot stay silent on those suffering. Human trafficking victims need proper support, so they may be able to live the happy life they deserve.