Blessed Are the Shalom-Makers: Toward a Shalom-Focused Human Trafficking Aftercare Social Movement

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Human trafficking is a growing problem in the United States and around the world. Victims of trafficking are exploited through force, fraud, or coercion, into either labor scenarios (labor trafficking), or commercial sexual exploitation (sex trafficking). Once repatriated, survivors are in need of a variety of healthcare and social services. In the United States, an increasing number of organizations are dedicated to meeting these needs. However, many questions remain as to the most effective approaches to aftercare, and providers do not always appear to be collaborating with one another.

Thus, this study seeks to understand the following: (1) the needs of human trafficking survivors in the United States and how providers are currently attempting to meet those needs (structures and philosophies), (2) how a theology of shalom might help providers offer a higher level of continuity of care, and (3) how human trafficking aftercare is an emerging social movement. In order to answer the questions of this study, original field research was conducted by semi-structured interviews with eight human trafficking aftercare programs in the United States.

This dissertation reports on data related to survivor needs, existing program structures, philosophical approaches to service delivery, and program success measurement. I argue that survivor needs are many and varied, that there are different, and at times conflicting, aftercare approaches in the field, and that most providers do not have a tool by which to measure success. Ultimately, these differing approaches can be separated into two streams of aftercare that do not appear to be working together as collaborators, but who have instead divided into faith-based and secular categories.

This dissertation offers recommendations to address the problems and challenges in human trafficking aftercare. It is suggested that a practical theology of shalom offers a category-based narrative that can drive service delivery towards targeted, measurable goals. In addition, I demonstrate that a potential solution to the wedge between the two streams of human trafficking aftercare is the creation of an independent training and equipping organization aimed at bringing together the two streams of aftercare into a cohesive social movement.

Mentor: Mark Hopkins, PhD

Degree Name

Doctor of Intercultural Studies (DIS)

First Advisor

Hopkins, Mark

Document Type



Human trafficking; Christianity; Human trafficking victims


Missions and World Christianity


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