Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Psy.D. Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Academic Discipline

Clinical Psychology - Florida School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Kathie Bates, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Christina D. Brown, Psy.D.


Human sex trafficking and prostitution is a global phenomenon that has been occurring for centuries. Millions of people are subjected to the cruelties that occur within sex trafficking and prostitution. The distinction between sex trafficking and prostitution is minute. Large economic profits serve as an incentive to sustain the sex work industry, despite the harm it causes to the people that are employed as sex workers. Numerous mental health problems can arise for individuals subjected to sex trafficking and prostitution including posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, dissociation, terror, anxiety, guilt, anger, and substance abuse (Dalla, 2002; Farley, Baral, Kiremire, & Sezgin, 1998; Farley et al., 2003; Raymond, Hughes, & Gomez, 2001; Ross, Anderson, Heber, & Norton, 1990; Vanwesenbeeck, 1994). Survivors of sex trafficking and prostitution have limited to non-existent treatments to assist them. The present paper explores the nature of sex trafficking and prostitution, reviews the literature of the risk factors related to sex trafficking and prostitution, and the mental health consequences resulting from trafficking and prostitution. This paper postulates the potential utility of mindfulness-based treatments to aid individuals who have been subjected to sex trafficking and prostitution. A review of the literature on mindfulness is discussed and its applicability to survivors of sex trafficking and prostitution.