Mental Health Services as a Vital Component of Psychosocial Recovery for Victims of Child Trafficking for Commercial Sexual Exploitation

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Abstract

There has been a plethora of outcomes associated with child trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation; however little attention has been paid to how outcomes are addressed for children who are placed into residential aftercare recovery programs following their identification as victims. Field-based qualitative research was undertaken in South and Southeast Asia, and involved interviews with 213 representatives from U.N. and governmental agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and residential aftercare recovery programs. Findings highlight the mental health needs of child victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, describe the availability and quality of mental health services and supports in aftercare programs to address prevailing needs and repair the psychological damage caused by trafficking, and report on lessons learned pertaining to elements of good practice and related challenges associated with the availability and quality of mental health services and supports. It concludes by highlighting the implications of the findings for mental health policy and practice and offers suggestions for further research.

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