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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Beyond narratives of victim and villain: Characteristics and service needs of domestic minor victims of sex trafficking, and the challenges of service delivery

  • Author(s): Lutnick, Alexandra
  • Advisor(s): Gambrill, Eileen
  • et al.

Young people involved in the sex trade have existed throughout history. Following passage of the 2000 Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) by the U.S. Congress, 22 U.S.C. 7102(8), U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who are under the age of 18 and trading sex in any capacity are now considered domestic minor victims of human trafficking. With the TVPA's passage, public awareness and services for victims of human trafficking increased. However, strategies to meet the needs of these young people are in the early stages of development. Knowledge gaps exist about the characteristics of young people who trade sex, what services these young people would like to receive, and the challenges of service provision. This study focused on three agencies that received funding to work with domestic minor victims of sex trafficking: the SAGE Project, Inc. in San Francisco, the Streetwork Project at Safe Horizon in New York, and the STOP-IT Program at Salvation Army in Chicago. This study addressed the following questions through a secondary analysis of quantitative and qualitative data: (1) What are the characteristics of young people who trade sex?; (2) What services do the young people request and what do they receive?; and (3) What are the challenges case managers experience in their work with this population?

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