The Process, Populations, Barriers to Elimination, and Health Effects of Sex Trafficking in the US: A Literature Review Open Access

Beck, Keely (2013)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/s7526d202?locale=en
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Abstract

Abstract

Sex trafficking is considered to be one of the greatest human rights violations of our time, one of the world's greatest human injustices that continues to plague both domestic and international societies. While a large amount of research has been done on sex trafficking internationally, domestic sex trafficking within the U.S. has begun to receive attention. The high occurrence of domestic sex trafficking nationally, underscores that the need for additional research to more fully understand this problem.

In this study a systematic literature review was conducted to synthesize research on sex trafficking in the US. This review focused on three areas: to describe the process of sex trafficking within the U.S.; identify those most vulnerable to sex trafficking in the U.S.; identify the barriers to eliminating sex trafficking in the U.S. and the health effects on victims of sex trafficking in the U.S.

A systematic review of peer-reviewed scientific articles was conducted, in addition to official organizational reports.

Results show that children are at most risk for sex trafficking in the U.S. Particularly those children who were runaways, homeless, or in foster care, in addition to victims of physical, psychological and sexual abuse. A variety of barriers continue to exist and challenge the elimination of sex trafficking. These include facilitators such as social media, societal views that glorify the role of pimps and prostitutes, a culture of tolerance, and the continued demand for sexual services from youth.

This literature review shows that domestic sex trafficking is a complex problem that requires a holistic response from U.S. legislation, medical practitioners and nonprofit organizations devoted to the issue. Sex trafficking is not only a human rights problem, but is an economic problem, a health problem, a legal problem, and a gender problem, as it continues to undermine each of these systems, within the U.S. A standard set of definitions, protocols, and rehabilitation services is needed in addition to further research to fully understand sex trafficking in the U.S. context, obtain accurate figures, and develop effective rehabilitation services for victims of sex trafficking.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction……………………………………………………………….....1

Chapter 2: Background of Sex Trafficking………………………………........2

History of Sex Trafficking Legislation in the US………………….……….....4

Definition of Sex Trafficking……………………………………………….....……....5

Scope of the Problem………………………………………………………...............8

Terminology………………………………………………………………...................…9

Chapter 3: Methods……………………………………………………………….…......13

Article Selection Criteria…………………………………………………….......…...13

Database Searches…………………………………………………………..............14

Chapter 4: Results……………………………………………………………………......17

The Process of Sex Trafficking in the United States……………….......17

Populations Most Vulnerable to Sex Trafficking………………………….....21

Barriers to the Prevention and Elimination of Sex Trafficking …......26

Health Effects of Sex Trafficking…………………………………………….….....32

Chapter 5: Discussion…………………………………………………………….……...37

Chapter 6: Conclusions and Recommendations……………………….……..38

Recommendation for Health Care Providers………………………………......38

Victim Identification and Data Collection on Human Trafficking…....39

Design of a Standardized Trafficking Victim Screening Tool and

Supporting Toolkit…………………………………………………………………………...40

Validation of a Standardized Trafficking Victim Screening Tool……..40

Conclusion…………………………………………………………….............………....42

References……………………………………………………………………………..........44

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