Date of Conferral







Medha Talpade (Chairperson)



Many women who survived sex trafficking continue to suffer from severe and persistent psychological distress even after the traditional treatment and rehabilitation program. The lingering psychological symptoms that these survivors suffer make reintegration into their families and communities difficult. This phenomenological study identified the restorative factors that helped some women who were earlier engaged in sex trafficking to recover, readjust, and reintegrate into their families and communities. Six female survivors of human trafficking and six program directors/counselors at different rehabilitation centers were individually interviewed in in-depth with semi-structured questionnaires and audio recorded. I kept diary of my readings and observation of the participants during the interviews to maintain the rigor and established trustworthiness of the study. With NVivo 11 plus Software, the information were coded to identify the different patterns. The Manen's hermeneutic descriptive phenomenological interpretative approach was employed to sort out the emerging themes. The findings were grouped under the perspectives of survivors and program directors/counselors. Both survivors and program directors/counselors agreed that factors such as supports from family/friends, medical treatments, counseling, and individual characteristics promoted recovery. The theories of social support, self-efficacy, and resilience guided the understanding of the recovery process of the survivors. For positive social change, this study provides information that families, communities, and society can become more aware of the ways to improve survivors' support systems and build a sustainable community that cares and supports survivors for a successful integration into families and communities.