Children and young people’s lived experiences of trafficking abuse, coping and survival strategies

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This presentation reports findings from a qualitative study that was conducted in England to explore children and young people’s lived experiences of child trafficking. In-depth qualitative interviews and focus groups were held with 20 young people aged 15-21. Drawing on personal testimonies, this presentation reports how children’s hopes and dreams turned to despair. Through being subjected to multiple and severe forms of trafficking abuse, children became aware they were deceived, manipulated, and commodified as “products” for traffickers’ gain. The findings reveal how despite being under oppressive conditions, children developed various coping mechanisms and adapted to gain some knowledge and power as survival strategies. The presentation draws attention to the role of other children within trafficking situations, highlighted as a significant finding in helping others to cope and even escape. These findings are used to extend our knowledge how the trafficking process is experienced and provide valuable insight of children’s lived experience of trafficking abuse, enabling practitioners to understand the dynamics, processes, and acts children are exposed to. Knowledge of peritraumatic responses to trafficking abuse can assist practitioners engaging in trafficking protection and trauma recovery. Practice implications of recognizing the valuable role of other children in responding to trafficking abuse is discussed, reinforcing the argument for furthering children’s inclusion and participation in anti-trafficking prevention programs.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2021
EventInternational Human Trafficking & Social Justice Conference - Toledo, USA United States
Duration: 22 Sept 202124 Sept 2021


ConferenceInternational Human Trafficking & Social Justice Conference
Country/TerritoryUSA United States


  • Child trafficking
  • lived experience
  • abuse
  • coping
  • peritraumatic
  • trauma
  • recovery


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