What is it about?

Children and adolescents at high risk for commercial sexual exploitation in the United States are those who are homeless, runaways, and/or transgender. This review used studies from qualitative research that collected information about their experiences in their own words and summarizes/synthesizes their reasons for entry, continuation, and exit from "the life."

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Why is it important?

The findings of this review highlight the many barriers and facilitators of youth involvement in sex trafficking/commercial sexual exploitation that can complicate efforts or actions to make an exit. This information can be used to develop interventions to reduce risk and prevent involvement among at-risk youth or to develop interventions that provide services and support to those in need.


Though 19 studies were included in the final review, more than 1,200 citations were found in the search regarding sex trafficking of children and adolescents in the United States and internationally. This is a problem that is far-reaching and affects males and females, particularly youth of color and those who are socio-economically disadvantaged. The complex emotions, negative and positive experiences, and ties to people who both help and hurt them make exiting sex work a formidable challenge.

Dr. Michelle DeCoux Hampton
Stanford Health Care, Office of Research

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Youth in the United States: A Qualitative Systematic Review, Trauma Violence & Abuse, November 2017, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/1524838017742168.
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