Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Joanne Belknap

Second Advisor

Matthew Brown

Third Advisor

Benjamin Teitelbaum


The current discourse on sex trafficking is plagued by a lack of consensus among scholars, a clear lack of societal understanding, and no clear valid treatment of the survivors of this crime. The limited existing research on sex trafficking survivors attempts to fit them into specific programs and services. This thesis differs from existing studies by using in-depth interviews with six sex trafficking survivors about the challenges they have experienced since exiting trafficking, to discover what was successful in their ongoing pursuit of reintegrating into society and creating a life with a high level of agency. These qualitative data resulted in several themes, including difficulties acquiring any resources from governmental bodies, battling continued societal stigma, and no clear direction for going forward. The findings not only identify the tangible resources available to the survivors, but also attempts to understand the struggles the survivors faced as they learned what helped and what did not help in their recovery processes.