The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Excerpt

The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: Population estimate, network attributes and the role of social capital for prostituted youth in New York City.

by Meredith Dank

The number of youth that are commercially sexually exploited in the United States is unknown. Additionally, the characteristics that make up the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) population, as well as the CSEC market, are widely disputed among researchers, child advocates, and professionals in the field. Past research has relied on police arrest records and used interviews with a limited, purposive sample to generate a prevalence rate and describe the characteristics and needs of the CSEC population. As a result, the findings from these studies do not provide a full picture of the issue. In order to gain a better understanding of the CSEC population in New York City, this study employed the Respondent-Driven Sampling (RDS) method to recruit and interview a sample of 249 eligible teenagers. RDS is a sampling strategy that is dependent on a number of assumptions concerning the social networks that are sampled, but it has been successfully used in a wide variety of research studies to recruit hardto-reach populations. Based on the RDS data collected, a prevalence rate was generated, in addition to an explanation of the attributes of the CSEC networks and its members. Social capital theories were used to explain how youth become involved in the CSEC market and why it is difficult for them to leave it. The findings from this study suggest that youth who possess social capital before entering the market, and are able to maintain it, are more likely to seek help from individuals who . . .

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