Fear Barriers for Trafficked Persons

Fear can take many forms for a trafficked person. For example:

Fear of Police and Other Authorities
A trafficked person may fear the police and other authorities such as border guards for a number of reasons:

  • Because they are doing something illegal (such as working in a drug lab, like Maria from Module 1) and believe they will be arrested.
  • Because they are from another country where the police are ineffective, corrupt or dangerous.
  • Because they are from another country and are afraid of being deported.
  • Because their trafficker has threatened them with violence if they talk to the police.

Fear of, or for, the Trafficker
Violence and threats of violence are the primary means used to control trafficked persons, and may be directed at the trafficked person or at their family and friends. A trafficked person may be convinced that if they seek help, the trafficker will carry out the threats they have made to the individual or their loved ones.

A trafficker may also create a situation where the trafficked person is dependent on the trafficker, despite having been exploited. The trafficked person may then feel that the trafficker is the only person they can count on or trust. They may have a relationship with their trafficker where they see the trafficker as a love interest or provider, and they worry about what will happen if the trafficker is caught.

Fear of Disbelief or Blame
A person who has been trafficked may fear that, if they tell their story, you will not believe them. They may also think you’ll blame them for their situation or say “you got yourself into this.

My Story: The RCMP came and asked me if I was willing to go. I said I was. Other police also arrived, and they entered the home. The RCMP and the police found other men in the basement. However, the men refused to leave. They were too afraid.

- Carl

Play the following video in which Mary Pichette, Executive Director of Servants Anonymous in Surrey, B.C., talks about the violence and fear that many trafficked people experience.

Violence and Fear

(Video runtime 01:57)

(Transcript for the Violence and Fear video.)


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