Sex trafficking is a horrific crime, and the experiences of those who are trafficked vary dramatically.
It can be hard to find the right words when talking about this issue. It's important to use language that is respectful, sensitive and non-judgmental. Below we outline some of the terms and how we will be using them in Traffick Stop.
Victim and survivor
We often use the term "victim" when someone is still engaged in trafficking and "survivor" once they have exited. We recognize that exiting is not a linear process and can take multiple attempts.
We also acknowledge that for those involved, their experience of exploitation does not define their identity and for some, avoiding labels such as "victim," "survivor" or "champion" is integral to their healing.
Leaving sex trafficking
Various terms are used to discuss the process of removing oneself (or being removed) from trafficking, including "exiting," "escaping" and "leaving" sex trafficking.
Some find the term "exiting" problematic as it implies a degree of choice that many survivors do not have when they are being trafficked. We do not wish to diminish the exploitative nature of the trafficking experience by implying leaving is a simple matter of choice.
Others find it difficult to entirely discount the role an individual may play in their own attempt to leave the trafficker and hence are not entirely comfortable with the term "escape."
We do not want to diminish any experience of trafficking and will use a combination of these terms to be inclusive of all experiences.