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July 10, 2018

Congressional Panel Discussion on Human Trafficking and Mental Health

(WASHINGTON) – On Thursday July 12th, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, will sponsor a Congressional panel discussion on the mental health implications of surviving human trafficking. The discussion, entitled “The Realities of Human Trafficking: Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Survivors” will include perspectives from subject matter experts and will provide Congress and the public with an opportunity to learn more about what human trafficking often looks like, what current resources are available for victims, and what additional work needs to be done to serve their health needs.

“The Realities of Human Trafficking: Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Survivors”

Sponsored by Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS)

Thursday, July 12th

10:00 AM

Cannon House Office Building Room 121
Washington, DC

Moderated by:

Hanni Stoklosa, MD, MPH, Executive Director, HEAL Trafficking, and Emergency Physician, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School


Shandra Woworuntu, Founder, Mentari
Rachel Robitz, MD, Co-Chair of Direct Services Committee, HEAL Trafficking, and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of California Davis
Allen Dyer, MD, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences/ Vice Chair for Education, George Washington University
Suzan Song, MD, MPH, PhD, Director, Division of Child/Adolescent & Family Psychiatry, George Washington University
Martina E. Vandenberg, Founder and President, The Human Trafficking Legal Center
Jean Bruggeman, Executive Director, Freedom Network USA


Refreshments served


Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against a person’s will. Discussions of human trafficking often revolve around prevention but rarely address the aftermath of human trafficking and how victims can begin to heal and lead healthy and productive lives. Research suggests that the majority of human trafficking victims suffer from mental illness as a result of their traumatic experiences – including depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Many survivors also face alcoholism and drug addiction.

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978