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.




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