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Reconstructing lives: transformative services for human trafficking survivors

Arvinder P.S. Loomba (School of Global Innovation and Leadership, San Jose State University, San Jose, California, USA)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 10 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is to introduce a transformative service-based model, which analyzes tripartite service interaction logics among trafficking survivors, anti-trafficking agencies and the community during a process of actively- and passively transformative exchanges. It aims to help researchers and practitioners better understand services that facilitate reintegration of trafficking survivors into society.


Using theory development from sociological and liminality schools of thought, this paper explores a variety of coping strategies that anti-trafficking agencies can offer human-trafficking survivors in post-trafficking service settings.


A novel transformative service-based framework extends current conceptualizations of social and service exchange in a tripartite interaction setting. Anti-trafficking agencies can create a supportive community environment to offer trafficking survivors passively transformative services and to cultivate and nurture their coping skills towards reintegration into society.

Research limitations/implications

Important implications for transformative service-based theory and practice of serving trafficking survivors are discussed. In addition, the study limitations are addressed.

Practical implications

The transformative service-based model analyzes tripartite service interaction logics during a process of exchanges between trafficking survivors, anti-trafficking agency and community ecosystem to achieve meaningful post-trafficking reintegration into society.

Social implications

Using the transformative service model, community ties need to be re-established for trafficking survivors to achieve successful reintegration into society, and for communities to heal and restore human dignity.


This research proposes a new framework for actively- and passively-transformative service logic for anti-trafficking agencies to offer assistance to trafficking survivors, based on sociological and liminality schools of thought.



This manuscript was encouraged by the invaluable feedback received on an earlier version of this research presented at the PMI Global Congress – North America, New Orleans, LA, October 27-29, 2013. The authors wish to acknowledge the assistance of Ms Elena Kokhanovski on the earlier version of this research. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the intellectual contributions derived from the thoughtful suggestions of the editor and three anonymous reviewers.


Loomba, A.P.S. (2017), "Reconstructing lives: transformative services for human trafficking survivors", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 31 No. 4/5, pp. 373-384.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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