Moving Forward with New
Strategies for Prevention and
The current study effectively postulated and empirically identified a pathway into victimization in child sex trafficking in prostitution. Specifically, the study tested five theoretically based and interlocking hypotheses that framed the proposed strain-reactive pathway into victimization in child sex trafficking in prostitution. First, caregiver strain (e.g., domestic violence, mental health problems, substance abuse problems) was predicted to produce a detrimental familial context increasing the likelihood of the occurrence of child maltreatment, including child neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. Second, in response to the strain of child maltreatment, it was hypothesized that victimized girls are more likely to choose risk-inflating, even delinquent, pathways of escape. The theorized pathway predicted that maltreated girls would be more likely to run away in comparison to non-abused girls or they would begin to use drugs or alcohol at an earlier age. Third, self-denigratory negative emotion was theorized to result from the girls’ experiences of child maltreatment. Fourth, this negative emotion, resulting from previous childhood victimization experiences, was theorized to detrimentally inflate vulnerability to victimization in sex trafficking of escaping girls, i.e., girls who had run away or who had begun to use drugs or alcohol at an early age to escape the pain of victimization. And fifth, these risk-inflating responses or escape routes from strain predicted to be taken by abused and now possibly marginalized “delinquent” girls were expected to increase their vulnerability to revictimization in child sex trafficking.