A recently passed bill, L.D. 1730, titled “An Act to Assist Victims of Human Trafficking,” offers assistance for those who have survived the world of human trafficking and provides incentives for those still in human trafficking to feel safer to leave.

It is wonderful that this bill has passed, and hopefully it can do some great things in the future. However, I would want to have more emphasis at this point on the mental health of the human trafficking survivors.

Given the conditions many of these people have faced, issues such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other anxiety disorders are very likely to occur. Persistent mental illness has the ability to make it very difficult to function in everyday life.

This act is designed to protect and help survivors of human trafficking, but I am curious to know what type of help will be given to those who have been emotionally traumatized by the events that they have endured.

Basic material needs, such as housing and finding employment, are of extreme importance to re-enter society. But for survivors to successfully function, strong mental health services – counseling, support groups or otherwise – are needed in order to reclaim the lives they have lost and begin to heal.

Margaret Scott

Portland