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These victims are manipulated and often don’t realize they’re being trafficked for sex or labor or both until they’re cut off from the world, threatened with violence and told to fear the consequences should they ever dare to leave.
“At first, they may see themselves as doing something for someone they care about; they see themselves as being in a relationship with the person who trafficked them,” said Linda Douglas, trauma specialist for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. “For a long time, there is a strong sense of denial, and they’re unable to see that they were coerced from the beginning. What they thought was their choice was, in fact, not, and now they’re someone’s property.”