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Experiences of Youth in the Sex Trade in the Bay Area

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2016
39 pages
This study of youth in the sex trade in the San Francisco Bay Area is one of six site-specific reports that provide systematic, detailed findings from interviews with such youth at each site.
The aim of the larger multi-site study of youth in the sex trade is to provide an empirical foundation that will inform relevant professionals and advocates on the extent and nature of the needs of youth involved in the sex trade in the United States. Using a dual sampling and recruitment strategy developed for hidden and stigmatized populations, this study interviewed 136 youth 13-24 years old who had at some time traded sex for money or other resources. These youth entered the sex trade under a variety of influences, including coercion, persuasion, friendship, or family, but the primary motivation for persistent prostitution is to make money in amounts that are inaccessible or difficult for these youth to obtain by other means. Many of the respondents had attempted to end their involvement in the sex trade. Some were drawn back to the market because of its quick access to money or other resources. Their attempts to leave the market suggest that they want a change in their lifestyles. Future research should examine these efforts in terms of their timing and reasons for failure. One component of an intervention should be strengthening the safety net for these youth by providing safe shelters, food, and other material resources. For those youth who are attempting to leave prostitution, intervention should include a consistent, graduated organizational or institutional commitment over a multi-year period that includes resources for developing job-related skills in the legal market. 1 table and 22 references

Date Published: March 1, 2016