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Experiences of Youth in the Sex Trade in Miami

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2016
38 pages
This study of youth in the sex trade in Miami, FL, 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. The Miami study consisted of interviews with 264 youth and young adults ages 13-24 who reported involvement in Miami's sex trade. Many of these youth entered the sex market because of desperate financial circumstances combined with limited skills and education that hindered them from obtaining other than minimum-wage employment. In some cases, support for their drug addiction increased a financial need met by the sex trade. Although some of the youth were controlled and exploited by persons who took a percentage of their earnings, a majority were independent actors who voluntarily entered the market, initiated contacts with customers, and set their own prices. Overall, however, these youth are living hazardous, oppressed, and insecure lives. They face health risks, intimate interactions with potentially dangerous and infected customers, loss of physical appeal necessary to attract well-paying customers, conflicts with police, mental and physical health issues, and increasingly limited socioeconomic options as they age. Their need for money and a limited ability to obtain it keep them in prostitution, although they have hope for a better future. Appended methodological materials

Date Published: March 1, 2016