Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Elin Ovrebo

Committee Member

Suzanne Lease

Committee Member

Alison Happel-Parkins

Committee Member

Mary Burke


In recent decades, the United States (US) government has made human trafficking a federal offense and federal and state agencies have started funding efforts to get sex trafficking survivors out of trafficking and into aftercare services. However, there has been little research on the quality of aftercare services for survivors of sex trafficking in the US. The author of the current study interviewed eight survivors of US sex trafficking about their experiences with aftercare. The semi-structured interviews were analyzed using grounded theory methodology. The core category of this study was "For sex trafficking survivors, a successful restorative aftercare experience is bookended by high-risk phases of building trust and connection that are critical to healing, hope, and future success." Main themes include the importance of aftercare environments that are safe, empowering, collaborative, and non-transactional; the need for holistic and multifaceted services; and the mixed reactions to faith in the context of aftercare. The study highlights the importance of survivors, service providers, and communities working together, in the context of a safe and ethical aftercare setting, to establish an environment where healing can occur.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.