Freedom for the Oppressed

Jun 21, 2013

Stockholm Syndrome affects many, including human trafficking victims (see our previous two posts for further information). It is a scary situation for a victim to feel closer to their abuser than anyone else in the world. Thankfully, there is hope for those who are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, otherwise known as a Trauma Bond.

While searching for the rehabilitation from a trauma bond, one must choose from one of the following three paths: no contact with their abuser, limited contact with their abuser or a full relationship. For the human trafficking survivor, the path of no contact is most appropriate. Some might say it is the only path a survivor can take with hope of being successful. Others who might take alternate paths are divorced co-parents, a parent/child relationship or a reconciled marriage.
With any of these paths, establishing external, healthy relationships in the lives of the victim is essential to the healing process. Healthy relationships can act as a trauma bond’s kryptonite. Once the victim begins to feel that someone else understands and accepts them, their relationship with their abuser will become less magnetic and hypnotizing. This relationship can come in the form of a therapist for a survivor of human trafficking. Rebound relationships or other connections where the party opposite the survivor is not equipped with knowledge about the rehabilitation process of a human trafficking victim could pose further threat to the victim’s progress.

Betrayal BondThrough building trust with a competent therapist, the victim will have the opportunity to tell their story to someone who shows them unconditional positive regard, otherwise known as judgment-free acceptance. The victim’s process of retelling their story allows them to reframe the situation. For example, have you ever experienced something that made you feel a certain way and once you told someone about the experience, it seemed much different? This is the hope for the survivors giving their testimony. Also, the victim’s understanding of the existence and essence of a trauma bond, in itself, can help them understand that their emotions are misleading and not to be trusted.

It is imperative that survivors identify the cycles of abuse and the roles of the victim, victimizer and rescuer. Sometimes, writing their story in the third person can help the victim gain perspective and realize that they ought not desire to stay in a relationship with their trafficker.

At Bridging Freedom, we look forward to providing the victims we are assisting with the proper psychiatric care and therapy so that they do not have to remain victims, but become survivors. Feel free to check out our website and catch our vision at We appreciate your support.

*Much of this blog was composed with information obtained from “The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships” by Patrick J. Carnes, Ph.D.


Skip to content