Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: Assessing and Reducing Risk
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This exploratory study represents one of the preliminary phases in a larger study conducted in efforts to develop the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) Risk and Resiliency Assessment. The purpose of this study was to examine the factors that may put youth at risk for DMST. Because of Social Works ethical responsibility to marginalized populations, the promotion of protective factors through a 10-session group intervention to counteract against such risks was also explored. Thus, over a three-month period, 10 psychoeducational group interventions were facilitated with 23 runaway, homeless, and street youth (RHSY) at an urban drop-in center with the primary goals of: (a) increasing awareness of healthy versus unhealthy relationship patterns, (b) increasing knowledge on how to set healthy relationship boundaries, (c) increasing the desire and expectation of mental, physical, and sexual respect, and (d) assisting in safe exits from abusive and/or exploitive relationships. Results of the pre-test post-test design indicate a myriad of risk factors for DMST. Findings also support that when provided a psychoeducational intervention within a safe, encouraging, and youth friendly environment, RHSY are able to define and develop protective factors against sex trafficking. Implications are relevant to practitioners and researchers in the field.
KeywordsSex trafficking Youth Risk factors Protective factors Psychoeducational Group
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