Despite further recent research into the consequences associated with human sex trafficking, scant evidence associated with the mental health outcomes among victims of sex trafficking remains, including within Nepal where trafficking continues to be a growing problem.
To investigate the prevalence and explanatory factors of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms among female survivors being housed and supported by two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Nepal.
A total of 66 female sex trafficking survivors being housed by two NGOs were purposively sampled. Anxiety and depression symptomatology were measured using the Hopkins Symptoms Checklist-25 instrument and PTSD symptomatology was measured using the PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version.
In all, 87%, 85.5% and 29.7% of the sample scored above anxiety, depression and PTSD thresholds, respectively. HIV-positive status and length of workday during trafficking period significantly associated with at least one outcome measure.
The results contribute further evidence of how damaging sex trafficking can be to victims, particularly in terms of being at risk of clinical depression and/or anxiety. Continued efforts to prevent trafficking from occurring as well as effective, timely intervention for survivors are needed.