Skip to main content

Advertisement

Table 1 Pre-conditions for Stockholm Syndrome in female sex workers

From: Does the Stockholm Syndrome affect female sex workers? The case for a “Sonagachi Syndrome”

Pre-Condition of  Stockholm Syndrome (Graham et al.) Conditional Similarities in Female Sex Worker Environments Analysis of Pre-Conditions of Stockholm Syndrome in Female Sex Workers
Perceived Threat to Survival and Belief that Captor is Willing to Carry-Out the Threat “I can leave but I need the police to protect me because there are many people who can torture me. I don’t know who they are but they come in the night and they rape us. Once I was kidnapped, stabbed, and raped just because I refused to open my door for prostitution at midnight.” Female sex workers are subjected to extreme violence after they are trafficked, especially in the initial months upon arrival to the brothel. This violence comes from both clients, as well as those who work in the brothel.
Victim’s Perception of Kindness from Captor within Context of Terror “He was very nice to me during the initial days but then he asked me to present myself before a man to whom I was sold…I realized that the person I was so much in love with and had trusted with all my heart was acting as a pimp and presenting me to people and earning lots of money out of it.” Many trafficking victims are initially lured by men through duplicitous romantic relationships. For many, this hope of love and kindness remains a factor as they continue interacting with the trafficker even while working in the brothel.
Isolation from Perspectives Other than that of the Captor “Girls and women were kept in constant fear. They were not allowed to talk to each other and were socially brain washed.” “One of the realities of life in a Red Light Area is seclusion. You are brought into the Red Light Area (RLA) as a child and for years kept locked inside a room with only the Malkin to talk to. It’s only after about ten years or more that you can start going out and talking to the other women.” Most trafficked women shared narratives of complete physical isolation from other girls and the public (aside from clients). This tactic is used to prevent girls from escaping or seeking help. It contributes to the demoralization of the victim.
Perceived Inability to Escape “There were many girls who tried to rise against the brothel owner and escape. But they would be found and treated even worse than before. I saw the fate of rebels in brothels and their hardships killed my courage to run away.” After physical violence and isolation for several months, many women shared that they did not believe escape was possible. They also witnessed examples of others who tried and failed, which further made the idea of escaping an unlikely if not impossible option.