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Sunday, March 8 • 10:05am - 11:20am
A Retrospective Study:The Voices of Commercially Sexually Exploited Survivors: A Narrative Approach

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (2003) reported over 1.2 million children are forced into sexual slavery every year worldwide. The sexual slavery of children is a global issue, and although often perceived to be a problem in developing nations, it also occurs to a large degree in the United States (Logan, Walker & Hunt, 2009). Between 100,000 and 300,000 youth are prostituted every year in the U.S. (Estes & Weiner, 2001). In the United States domestic minor sex trafficking victims are under the age of 18 and have been recruited, harbored, transported, provided or obtained to perform sex acts (Washington State Office of the Attorney General, n.d.). Kotrla’s (2010) review of the literature on sex trafficking in the U.S. found that the populations most often trafficked domestically are American-born citizens and legal residents, not foreign nationals brought in to U.S., as is often believed to be the case (Hughes, 2007). However, attention, research, and funds are disproportionately allocated to foreign national trafficking victims, followed by domestic adults and finally domestic children (Finklea, Fernandes-Alcantara, & Siskin, 2011; Fong & Berger Cardoso, 2010; Hughes, 2007). The aim of this retrospective study was to collect the personal narratives of U.S. citizen and legal resident adults who were sexually exploited as minors within the U.S. in order to garner insight into their experience. Fifteen survivors were interviewed and a narrative framework that draws on feminist approaches was utilized to explore their experiences. After transcription and analysis, six major themes emerged from the participants’ interviews: predisposing factors, precipitating factors, experiences while being trafficked, present circumstances, mental health related issues and coping mechanisms, and views on sex trafficking. I will provide an overview of their responses with examples from their personal narratives. The mental health and policy implications will also be presented.


Sunday March 8, 2015 10:05am - 11:20am PDT
Washington