Human trafficking is a pervasive form of modern-day slavery. Despite increased resources being devoted to fighting these atrocities, human trafficking numbers are rising (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2018). Unfortunately, due to the covert, criminal nature of exploitation, research regarding human trafficking and its impact on survivors has been limited. This literature review seeks to aid mental health counselors in their treatment of human trafficking survivors by garnering an understanding of the complex mental health needs of trafficking survivors by exploring biological, genetic, and psychosocial influences that increase their susceptibility to the development of mental health concerns. This review also aims to identify the most prevalent mental health concerns of survivors. A discussion regarding the relevancy of findings, how they may guide treatment in the field of mental health counseling, research limitations, and advocacy needs follows.

Keywords: human trafficking, exploitation, counseling, treatment considerations, psychological implications

Date of Award

Spring 4-7-2022

Document Type

Capstone Paper

Degree Name

Masters of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling


Counselor Education

First Advisor

Anquinetta V. Calhoun, Ph.D.



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