“Trauma and Trafficking” was the theme of Cabrini University’s 8th annual Domestic Violence symposium. The event was sponsored by the Barbara and John Jordan Center for Children of Trauma and Domestic Violence Education, whose purpose is to promote social change through professional development, training, education, and research to end domestic violence and support children exposed to trauma.

This symposium illustrated the intersectionality between women who experienced commercial sexual exploitation and the use of violence and control to maintain victimization. Local and regional expert panelists included law enforcement, clinical, medical, school district, and immigrant and advocacy providers.

Keynote Speaker Barbara Amaya – a survivor, author, and award-winning advocate in the movement to end human trafficking – shared her experiences as a survivor. She pointed out that anyone who works directly with survivors needs to understand how critical violence, control, and trauma bonds make it difficult to escape these destructive relationships.

She stressed the following:

  • Time and trust are required to break the trauma bond
  • Victims never view themselves as being trafficked
  • Providers must ask the right questions that are trauma informed and offer choices
  • Survivor to survivor connections and voices offer hope and empowerment

How violence, control and false love are used to exploit women

In Nobody’s Girl, Barbara Amaya recounts her lost innocence at age 12, her life story as a modern-day slave, and her transformation to an advocate for survivors of human trafficking and violence against women. She offers hope and a glimpse into ‘the life” and most importantly how she slowly found the will to live and ultimately leave “the life”. Her memoir offers tangible, prescriptive advice for recognizing the red flags of human trafficking.


Human Trafficking Resources

Domestic Violence Resources