What is human trafficking?

Human Trafficking is the illegal recruitment, transportation, or harboring of persons using force, fraud, or coercion to perform commercial sex acts and/or forced labor services for profitable purposes.

Who becomes a victim of human trafficking?

Victims are often:

  • Undocumented immigrants
  • Runaway and homeless youth
  • Victims of trauma and abuse
  • Unsupervised children on cyberspace
  • Refugees and individuals fleeing conflict
  • Oppressed, marginalized, impoverished groups or individuals
*Note: The beast of Human Trafficking knows no boundaries. It targets all socioeconomic statuses (i.e. educated middle-class university students) as well as all ethnicities, cultures, cities, gender, religion, and sexual orientation.

How do you identify a victim of human trafficking?


  • Poor mental health or abnormal behavior (i.e. fearful, anxious, depressed, avoids eye contact, submissive, tense, paranoid)
  • Poor physical health (i.e. malnourished, no healthcare, signs of physical/sexual abuse)
  • Few or no personal possessions
  • No bank account
  • Is unable to speak for themselves (i.e. being accompanied and spoken for by abuser during medical appointment)
  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or does not know what city he/she is in
  • Loss of sense of time
  • Numerous inconsistencies in his/her story
*Note: Not an inclusive list.

What is Occupational Therapy (OT)?

Occupational therapy is the profession that utilizes the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations) to help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do. It focuses on a holistic approach by adapting the environment and/or occupation to fit the person.

Why OT in combating human trafficking?

Occupational therapists are equipped to address the complex psychosocial, physical, and cognitive needs of survivors that are imperative to achieving meaningful, sustainable, and independent living.
Occupational therapy practitioners ask “What matters to you?” not “What’s the matter with you”. The services occupational therapists provide to survivors of human trafficking are: task analysis, coping strategies, goal setting, assessment & evaluation, role development, life skills training, address environmental supports and barriers, activities involving sensory modulation, as well as self-care, leisure, and social participation.

How does OT combat human trafficking?

Occupational therapy helps restore occupational justice or the rights of survivors to access opportunities and resources to engage in their chosen and meaningful occupations. It helps create a “new normal”, a new narrative by assisting survivors of human trafficking form new habits, routines, + roles.

Myth vs. Reality

MYTH: Victims do not know their trafficker. REALITY: Many survivors have been trafficked by romantic partners, including spouses and by family members, including parents.

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and reintegrate into society after overcoming human trafficking.

"The Future belongs to those who believe in the Beauty of their Dreams."    -Eleanor Roosevelt

© 2021 Dwelle Collaborative