Dr. Jared (name changed), the emergency department (ED) resident physician at a Los Angeles hospital, was perplexed to see a young horrified Mexican woman, Carmen (name changed), bleeding profusely. The 24-year-old was gasping for breath while she uttered a few words in Spanish. The fact that she was pregnant further aggravated her condition.
The man who accompanied Carmen claimed to be her brother and acted as her interpreter. He said she was struggling with chronic bipolar disorder and hadn’t been taking her medications for a month, which led her to aggressive behavior. While her brother spoke, Dr. Jared noticed multiple bruises and puncture marks on Carmen’s arms, shoulders and neck.
Seeing that the doctor was curious about these marks on Carmen’s body, the brother intervened to explain that she engaged in substance abuse and often sold her body to street peddlers and gangsters to satisfy her drug urges. Refusing to accept the brother’s version of the story, the suspicious doctor summoned a certified clinical interpreter to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Comforted by Dr. Jared’s assurance and the new interpreter, Carmen slowly began to open up. She said she was a native of Campeche, a Mexican state, and the man posing as her brother was her abductor. She said she was lured with false promises of a modeling career in the United States by this man who pretended to be a fashion photographer.
But, on arrival, the man confiscated her travel documents and forcibly raped her on several occasions after injecting her with drugs. The abductor kept her in a dangerously intoxicated state so that she would submit to his sexual fantasies. Repeated heroin abuse and sexual exploitation pushed her not only toward dependency on the drug, but also to bipolar disorder with regular bouts of high and low panic attacks and mood swings. The very thought of being held captive as a sex slave was the reason for her unbalanced state of mind. She didn’t know how to break free.
Like Carmen, there are many unsuspecting victims of human trafficking in the U.S. who eventually end up suffering from dual diagnosis after experiencing sexual exploitation and forced drug use. The 2016 Global Slavery Index estimates that 57,700 people are victims of slavery and human trafficking in the U.S. Studies suggest that human trafficking generates profits of billions of dollars annually across the globe. According to experts, human trafficking is an invisible crime because victims hardly reach out to seek help due to language barriers, fear of their abductors or fear of being ill-treated by law enforcement authorities.
In the light of this modern-day evil prevalent in America, President Donald Trump has declared January 2018 as the National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, which would culminate in the annual celebration of National Freedom Day on Feb. 1, 2018. Emphasizing on the dire need to safeguard human values and to protect dignity, the president has called upon all governmental and non-governmental organizations, private businesses and all institutions of civil society to play their part in eradication of this menace nationwide with appropriate programs to spread awareness about this form of modern-day slavery.
Seeking treatment for dual diagnosis
Studies suggest high rates of mental health problems amongst victims of human trafficking. It is one of the reasons why they are also most likely to engage in substance abuse. Therefore, the need of the hour is to ensure early diagnosis and mental health screening facilities for such individuals so as they could face higher odds of succumbing to both chronic depression and substance use disorder. Afflicted by mental agonies and physical pain, they often resort to drug abuse to escape from the nerve-racking reality looming large over their heads.
The need of the hour is regular care from trained physicians and customized therapies to help a comorbid patient avail the benefits of one of the top dual diagnosis treatment centers in Los Angeles and other cities. Sovereign Health of San Clemente, California offers a variety of customized dual diagnosis treatment options at its residential treatment centers to treat a person holistically. If you or your loved one is suffering from dual diagnosis, call at our 24/7 helpline or chat online to know more about our treatment programs.