U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Mentoring for Youth with Backgrounds of Involvement in Commercial Sex Activity National Mentoring Resource Center Population Review

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2016
23 pages
This literature review examined research on mentoring for youth who have been involved in commercial sex activity (YCSA).
The review focused on the following four issues: 1) the documented effectiveness of mentoring for YCSA; 2) factors that influence the effectiveness of mentoring for YCSA; 3) the intervening processes that are most important in linking mentoring to outcomes for YCSA; and 4) the extent to which such mentoring has reached and engaged YCSA, has been implemented with evidence-based practices, and has been sustained by host organizations and settings. This literature review concludes that research which directly addresses mentoring for YCSA is limited in scope and is not sufficiently reliable to address the aforementioned issues; however, the review's limited findings, together with other research and surveys on the experiences of youth who have been involved with commercial sex, makes it possible to identify a number of promising possibilities for both the formal and informal mentoring of YCSA. The review notes the possibility that benefits of mentoring for YCSA may depend on mentors having appropriate training and/or their own histories of commercial sex exploitation. Also promising are mentoring processes that provide hope, identity, social support, and education and career development for YCSA. This review cautions, however, that a mentoring relationship with YCSA may be difficult to sustain due to change and instability in the lives of such youth.

Date Published: January 1, 2016