Women’s Experiences of Human Trafficking and their Conceptualisations and Requirements of ‘Support.’

Prof Doc Thesis

Girling, I. 2017. Women’s Experiences of Human Trafficking and their Conceptualisations and Requirements of ‘Support.’. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.6725
AuthorsGirling, I.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

This research explores women’s experiences of Human Trafficking (HT) and their understandings of the term ‘support’ in light of these. It explores what type of support they saw as being useful to them given their experiences. This study was necessary and timely given the publication of the 2015 National Referral Mechanism (NRM), the UK policy to protect survivors of HT, which requires services to provide medical, legal and psychological ‘support’ to survivors. It has been argued that these services can be limited, particularly psychology, given that they are built on professional conceptualisations of what is necessary and useful and neglect a survivor’s perspective.
The study involved in-depth interviews with sixteen survivors of HT who were all within the NRM. Interviews were analysed using thematic analysis from a critical realist epistemology within a realist ontology. Three main themes were identified.
Theme One encompassed participants’ grounding their understanding of ‘support’ in the context of their experiences of HT. Multiple intersecting forms of inequality and discrimination and the deceptive nature of HT were highlighted. Theme Two involved participants’ accounts of both the injuries sustained from their experiences of HT and those perpetuated by their current experiences in the NRM. The third theme related to participants’ hope that their experience of multiple injustice could be realised, recognised and understood in order to prevent and protect themselves and others from further harm.
Based on the analysis, implications for future research, policy and practice are considered. This research argues that clinical psychology needs to fulfil its legislative duty to address the health of survivors of HT within a human rights and violence against women framework

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.6725
Publication dates
PrintMay 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited10 Jan 2018
Publisher's version
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