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Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States: A Guide for the Health Care Sector

NCJ Number
248472
Date Published
Author(s)
Institute of Medicine and National Research Council
Annotation
This abridged version of the report, “Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States” is intended for professionals in the healthcare sector.
Abstract
In identifying and treating victims of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, healthcare professionals are in a unique position to identify them in the course of preventing and treating their injuries, illness, and disease; however, despite the potential opportunities for intervention on behalf of these victims of sexual exploitation, healthcare professionals often overlook or fail to identify these youth. This guide is intended to raise awareness of these opportunities so that healthcare professionals will be better prepared to perform their important role in preventing, recognizing, and responding to commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of youth in their care. Following an introduction, the guide provides definitions of relevant terms, a set of guiding principles, a summary of what is known about the prevalence of the problem, and an overview of risk factors and consequences associated with sexual exploitation. The guide’s second major section identifies and discusses barriers to healthcare professionals’ identification of victims and survivors of these crimes; promising ways to overcome these barriers are also addressed. Barriers include practitioners’ lack of awareness and understanding of the prevalence and symptoms of such victimization, victims’ reluctance to share their victimization experiences with healthcare professionals, and a lack of protocols for treating and referring these victims to appropriate authorities. Another major section of the guide presents models of care for healthcare professionals in serving these victims and descriptions of specialized providers of services to these victims. The guide’s concluding section recommends comprehensive strategies for countering the sexual exploitation of minors. 70 references
Date Created: October 23, 2014