Sex traffickers often prey on vulnerability and employ manipulative tactics to create opportunity for exploitation. A review of 93 cases of sexually exploited girls and interviews with their case managers revealed that in approximately half of these cases exploitation in sex trafficking occurred after the girls had contact with child protective services and/or they had been placed in state care. The current study examined the links between the schemes and strategies of sex traffickers and various factors such as victim and situational characteristics observed in cases involving foster girls. Unique system-based practices – such as placing previously trafficked girls in homes without providing appropriate protection for other girls, allowing girls placed in foster care to keep cell phones provided by traffickers, locating long-term care facilities within high crime areas giving sex traffickers easy access to runaway girls, and failing to react properly when DCF workers were suspected of sexually abusing or exploiting girls – created heightened susceptibility to exploitation of girls in state care. Complex victim difficulties – such as frequent running away, extensive maltreatment histories, and mistrust of authorities – complicated protection efforts. Implementation and evaluation of prevention and intervention strategies are urgently needed.
Reid, Joan, "Sex Trafficking of Girls: How Sex Traffickers Exploit Youth and System Vulnerabilities" (2015). Faculty Publications. 217.
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