Understanding Child Sex Trafficking: Contributing Factors

Alexandra Haas, MPH

Child sex trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) are formidable public health issues in the United States and the world at large. The health issues that result from child sex trafficking are extensive. Victims are at high risk for injuries, assault, infectious diseases such as HIV and STIs, substance abuse, untreated chronic medical issues, dental disease, malnutrition, and homicide1. In addition, victims face a high risk of mental disorders such as PTSD, major depression and increased prevalence of suicide1. Healthcare providers are in a unique position to identify victims, but it is crucial to prevent children from becoming victims in the first place2.

Prevention is necessary to curb the growth of the child sex trafficking criminal enterprise. By outlining the contributing factors and risk factors for child sex trafficking, we can work towards creating a roadmap by which to systematically eradicate the issue3. An ecological approach outlining the individual, interpersonal, organizational, community and societal factors that influence the issue is essential3. These contributing factors and risk factors have been outlined in the diagrams below.

 

 

Sources

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9) American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. The commercial sexual exploitation of children: The medical provider’s role in identification, assessment and treatment: APSAC practice guidelines. Chicago, IL: APSAC; 2013. Available at: www.kyaap.org/wp-content/uploads/APSAC_Guidelines.pdf. Accessed July 7, 2013

10) Curtis, R., Terry, K., Dank, M., Dombrowski, K., & Khan, B. (2008). The commercial sexual exploitation of children in New York City: Volume 1: The CSEC population in New York City: Size, characteristics and needs. National Institute of Justice, US Department of Justice

11) Zimmerman, C., Yun, K., Shvab, I., Watts, C., Trappolin, L., & Treppete, M. et al. (2003). The health risks and consequences of trafficking in women and adolescents: Findings from a European study. London: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

12) Cunningham KC, Cromer LD. Attitudes About Human Trafficking: Individual Differences Related to Belief and Victim Blame. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 2016;31:228-244.

13) Macias Konstantopoulos W, Ahn R, Alpert EJ, et al. An International Comparative Public Health Analysis of Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls in Eight Cities: Achieving a More Effective Health Sector Response. Journal of Urban Health. 2013;90:1194-1204.

14) Busch-Armendariz, N., Nale, N., Kammer-Kerwick, M., Kellison, B., Torres, M., Heffron, L., Nehme, J. Human Trafficking by the Numbers: The Initial Benchmark of Prevalence and Economic Impact for Texas. December 2016. University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault. http://sites.utexas.edu/idvsa/files/2017/02/Human-Trafficking-by-the-Numbers-2016.pdf

15) Fedina, L., Williamson, C., & Perdue, T. (2016). Risk factors for domestic child sex trafficking in the United States. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/0886260516662306

16) Bouche, Vanessa. TCU Department of Political Science. Report on the Use of Technology to Recruit, Groom and Sell Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Victims, Thorn, 2015.