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A qualitative study of the lived relational experiences of sex trafficked women
AuthorMorris, Carson M
AdvisorFreeman, Brenda J.
Counseling and Educational Psychology
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Research on sex trafficking has yet to explore the lived relational experiences of sex trafficked women. Relationships are crucial to human functioning and the lack of relationships can lead to adverse effects. The study utilized qualitative phenomenology as well as a humanistic-existential lens to analyze the data gathered from 10 participants through two semi-structured interviews. The themes from the initial analysis were: (a) Trauma Ridden Relationships, (b) Ambivalent Relationships, (c) If Someone Cared, (d) Friend or Foe, (e) The Double Edge Sword, (f) and Trust is Difficult. The themes from the secondary analysis with the humanistic-existential lens were: (a) Unconditional Positive Regard, (b) Existential Isolation, (c) and Meaninglessness and Meaning. This study emphasized the uniqueness of sex trafficked victims, an underlying presence of shame, potential issues related to an attachment base, and a protective factor in a supportive adult. The information gained from this study benefited future personal and professional relationships with sex trafficked women due to knowledge about the inner workings of relationships and underlying themes.