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  • Writer's pictureSavannah Parvu

The Things Nobody Tells You About Surviving Human Trafficking

While we have made a lot of progress over the years in raising awareness of the issue of human trafficking, there still appears to be a large disconnect with the effects human trafficking has on individuals as well as the lasting impact it has on the lives of those who have been trafficked.  It’s my desire, in series of posts, to share some of the impacts it has had on my life and the things I feel like nobody tells you and/or people don't seem to understand.


*Please note- every survivor is unique and has their own individual experience.  While I know other survivors who will agree with most of what I am going to share, it’s not the same for every survivor.


The first thing I want to share is that no matter how much time passes and how much healing work you do, the pain never truly goes away.  The healing process is a lifelong journey.  The pain gets better, and we learn how to cope, but it never truly goes away and different feelings, emotions and memories will resurface from time to time and will need to be dealt with. 


Next, many survivors end up being exploited again, but this time for their story.  Everyone wants a human trafficking story at their training, event, fundraiser, etc. and many survivors are thrown on a stage before they are even in healthy space to speak about the trauma they’ve endured.  When survivors speak before they are ready, it can retraumatize, slow their healing process and sometimes send them on downward spiral.  I know some survivors that have gone back into the life as a result being of speaking at events before they were ready. 


When survivors are requested to speak, they should be compensated for their time and travel just as any other “expert” would be.  I personally don’t mind speaking at things that I feel are important without being compensated because, but when a survivor is speaking at an event that represents your organization or a fundraiser that your organization is benefiting from then they should most definitely be compensated well.


It's important for survivors to know that just because there are survivors who share parts of their story, it’s perfectly fine if you never feel the desire to share yours and if you do, you only share the parts you feel like sharing with those you want to share it with.    When I first started speaking, I didn’t share as much as I share now. There are times when I share more than other times depending on how much time I have, who I’m speaking to and how comfortable I feel.  Sometimes I share several details and other times I share very general facts from my experience.


The last thing I want to so share in the first post of the series is that survivors may not ever feel safe again.  I was recently asked how long it took me to feel safe again after being trafficked.  I thought about the question and it kind of made me feel sad because even now, years later, I still don’t feel safe.  There are times I still wake up in the middle of the night gripping with fear.  There are times I feel like I’m being watched or followed and there are things I still do not allow myself to do because I’m fearful of who may be there and/or what may happen to me.  I don’t know there’s ever a point in my life where I felt safe, and I realize I don’t know what that would look like or feel like for me.


In my next post I will elaborate a little more on each of the things I shared in this post as well as share some more things nobody tells you about surviving human trafficking.  If you have specific questions you would like me to address in one of my next posts feel free to comment or send them to me at

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