Faculty Publications

Document Type


Publication Date

November 2017

Publication Title

Trauma, Violence, & Abuse

First Page


Last Page





human trafficking, sex trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, adolescent, teen


Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance


Background:Homeless, runaway, and transgender youth are at high risk for commercial sexual exploitation in the United States. Research examining this phenomenon is growing but requires synthesis to facilitate its use by professionals who serve this population. The purpose of this review was to aggregate the qualitative evidence regarding commercially sexually exploited youth (CSEY) in the United States.Methods:The search included published and unpublished qualitative studies with current or former CSEY who reside in the United States.Results:There were 19 studies included in the review with a total of 795 participants. Eight themes were identified and grouped into three broader categories: experiences that preceded sex work entry, experiences that facilitated sex work continuation, and experiences that facilitated sex work exit.Conclusions:Understanding the barriers and facilitators of commercial sexual exploitation can inform the development of interventions that address the needs of CSEY and youth at risk for exploitation. The results of this review highlight the social and economic influences as well as the role of positive and negative reinforcements involved in sex work entry, its continuation, and exit. Needs for services, research, and advocacy are also discussed.


Michelle DeCoux Hampton and Michelle Lieggi, Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Youth in the United States: A Qualitative Systematic Review, Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, pp. 1-14. Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications. The final publisher version is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1524838017742168

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