Why Don’t They Try To Escape?


Experts estimate that more than 40 million people are victimized by human trafficking. Of course, we’re disgusted and horrified that millions of people are recruited, coerced, and exploited by predators for financial or personal gain. But because most of us have never dealt with such an insidious situation, we can’t fathom it. 

The obvious question that pops into our minds is, “why can’t victims of human trafficking just leave?” Without a full grasp of the manipulation and trauma associated with trafficking, it’s difficult to understand. Those who have escaped human trafficking endure a long and challenging process of putting their lives back together. One thing we’ve learned from them is that there are many barriers that prohibit them from leaving. Continue reading to understand why it’s not easy to break free.


Complete Dependency on the Trafficker

Once traffickers have victims within their clutches, they confiscate their identifying documentation, like passports. In addition, they isolate their victims from family and friends, blocking communication. And they typically keep any money victims earn for themselves. As a result, people who are trafficked are entirely dependent on their abusers for everything, making it nearly impossible to conceive of escaping.


Threats of Violence 

Victims who are not physically held captive are frequently subjected to threats of violence to keep them in line. Traffickers also threaten to harm their loved ones if they don’t do what their abusers request. 

In addition, traffickers might use tactics to convince victims that they will be found if they try to leave, unleashing more violence. To stay alive, victims succumb to their traffickers.


Being Taken to Unfamiliar Locations

Many trafficking victims are taken outside their country of origin, where the language and customs are foreign. Once there, traffickers tell victims that their location is dangerous and they won’t be able to survive without them. Because they can’t speak the language, it’s nearly impossible to count on authorities, who they fear will arrest and imprison them for being in a country illegally.



In addition to using violence, it’s not unusual for traffickers to torture their victims, brainwashing them into thinking they’re insane. They use various control tactics to accomplish this, depriving victims of basic physical necessities like sleep and food. Traffickers also convince victims that they are the only people they can trust.



If they manage to leave, trafficked individuals can experience discrimination and judgement from service providers, friends and family, or the community. Often, they fear that their story won’t be believed. Many victims report deep shame and blame themselves for the situation.


Lack of Support

It’s not unusual for many trafficking victims to come from poverty, neglect, or abuse. In those situations, they have no support system to depend on if they manage to free themselves from their abuser. Without support, they fear the unknown and can’t conceive of a way to enter mainstream life.


A Bond With Their Tafficker

Through various means of manipulation, traffickers persuade their victims that they are the only person who understands them. Victims may feel like they have no choice but to stay with their trafficker because they’re the only ones who take care of them or give them any kind of “love.”



One of the biggest reasons people stay in a trafficking situation is trauma. Trauma makes it hard for a person to think clearly and make good decisions because it disrupts the part of the brain that processes information logically. Victims may have been physically or emotionally abused by traffickers, which means they don’t feel safe leaving their trafficker or another person who could hurt them.


Help Us Provide Hope to Victims

Human trafficking victims are often left with little hope and no options, but your support can change that. Your gift, regardless of size, can change a person’s life. Every donation can change the life of someone victimized by human trafficking. No matter how small, every effort can deliver help and hope to the most vulnerable. 

The generosity of our supporters has helped us provide a safe life for young people once trapped in a life of slavery and provide shelter, food, and medical care for those in need. Together, we can change and save lives!