A therapeutic strategy for victims of sex trafficking in the Netherlands


Human trafficking for sexual exploitation has serious and prolonged implications on an individual’s physical, sexual and psychological health. Research findings are indicative of the presence of a variety of psychological disorders in victims of sex trafficking globally e.g. anxiety, depression and PTSD and that the intrinsically traumatizing experience of being prostituted in not culture bound (Farley et al, 1998). At the same time there is fragmented anecdotal evidence to suggest the type of interventions that are effective in addressing these psychosocial needs. Being used as a sex slave does not only have consequences on one’s physical health, with a higher prevalence rate of sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS and multiple injuries sustained through the violence; it also results in deterioration of mental functioning as the victims often need to dissociate themselves from the extreme trauma inflicted upon them. The Bijlmer Project is a unique project in the Netherlands that has conducted a preliminary study to investigate the prevalence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the psychological, social and cultural impact of sex trafficking on women and men and is a scientific attempt to highlight the contemporary picture of human trafficking in the Netherlands and its neighbouring countries in the European Union. The following paper proposes the use of EMDR as a predominant therapeutic strategy to process chronic trauma and discusses the design and implications of this therapeutic intervention model being developed for victims of sex trafficking in the Netherlands.






Sheetal Shah

Original Work Citation

Shah, S. (2014, January). A therapeutic strategy for victims of sex trafficking in the Netherlands. In EMDR for offenders/perpetrators/violence (Atara Sivan, Chair). Presentation at the 2nd EMDR Asia International Conference, Manila, The Philippines



“A therapeutic strategy for victims of sex trafficking in the Netherlands,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed December 6, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/22583.

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