Study examines the gendered risk factors of incarcerated youth charged with prostitution


In the USA, federal legal guidelines had been created to successfully decriminalize prostitution in minors beneath the age of 18. Nevertheless, state and native justice programs proceed to arrest and incarcerate minors for prostitution, regardless of widespread settlement that youth concerned in business sexual exploitation are victims, not offenders.

Most youth are inclined to fall sufferer to youngster prostitution and intercourse trafficking between the ages of 12 and 14. Victims of kid prostitution have particularly excessive charges of prior bodily, sexual and emotional abuse in addition to neglect.

Calli M. Cain, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Florida Atlantic College’s Faculty of Social Work and Prison Justice, examined the traits and threat components akin to victimization histories, dwelling conditions and drug/alcohol use, of incarcerated youth charged with prostitution within the U.S. On condition that men and women have totally different pathways to crime/arrest, she additionally examined for gender variations in these threat components.

The research, revealed within the journal Victims & Offenders, is the primary to have a look at gender variations in a nationally consultant pattern of detained youth. Outcomes present that this inhabitants of incarcerated youth has a number of threat components, together with intensive victimization experiences throughout childhood, and that these experiences fluctuate by gender.

The pattern included 2,643 incarcerated youth concerned in prostitution, which was outlined as “being paid for having sexual relations with somebody.”

Among the many key findings of the research:

  • Seventy-five p.c had been males and 25 p.c had been females. Probably the most generally incarcerated youth had been white males (29.4 p.c), about 16 years outdated, adopted by black (26.8 p.c) and Hispanic (24.7 p.c) males.
  • About 30 p.c of the feminine pattern had been white, adopted by two or extra races/different (24.6 p.c), black (23.7 p.c) and lastly Hispanic (21.6 p.c).
  • Almost 43 p.c indicated that they had been molested as a baby and greater than 35 p.c had skilled pressured intercourse rising up.
  • Almost half (45.9 p.c) indicated that they had skilled emotional abuse; the bulk (85.3 p.c) additionally indicated that they had witnessed critical violence.

Most youth charged with prostitution have an intensive historical past of victimization experiences and detaining them typically exacerbates their issues, delays acceptable care, interrupts their schooling, exposes them to youth who commit extra critical offenses, and will increase justice system prices.”

Calli M. Cain, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Florida Atlantic College’s Faculty of Social Work and Prison Justice

The research confirmed that feminine youth charged with prostitution had considerably larger prevalence charges of each type of victimization besides witnessing critical violence. Almost 4 out of 5 females reported experiencing bodily abuse as a baby in comparison with simply over half of males.

  • Virtually two-thirds of the women had been molested as a baby, half had been raped, and three-fourths had been emotionally abused as a baby, in comparison with 36 p.c of males who had been molested, 31 p.c who had been raped, and 37 p.c who had been emotionally abused.
  • Considerably extra females (84 p.c) reported utilizing substances on daily basis or a number of instances every week within the months earlier than custody in comparison with 75 p.c of males.
  • Females had far larger charges of polyvictimization; 80 p.c reported three or extra victimization varieties in comparison with males (49 p.c), and 31 p.c of females skilled all 5 varieties of prior victimization (e.g., bodily and emotional abuse, molestation, pressured intercourse rising up) in comparison with 11 p.c of males.

In relation to dwelling circumstances, males had been considerably extra more likely to have lived with their mother or father(s) rising up in comparison with females. Alternatively, females had been extra more likely to be dwelling in foster care/group properties, with buddies, on their very own, or had been homeless earlier than their arrest, in comparison with males.

“Schooling and coaching are essential for professionals to appropriately determine intercourse trafficking victimization and scale back misidentification, particularly since most victims of intercourse trafficking don’t determine themselves as victims,” stated Cain.

With April being “Nationwide Baby Abuse Prevention Month,” gaining a greater understanding of threat components related to business sexual exploitation amongst this group of youth is crucial. Cain says such endeavors may enhance early intervention efforts, a coordinated and collaborative legal justice response, and responsive public coverage to scale back hurt and enhance outcomes for affected youth.

“Offering this inhabitants of youth with remedy and maybe residential care in a protected surroundings may assist them exit ‘the life’ and stop them from being re-trafficked, which is a typical incidence when they’re handled punitively by the Juvenile Justice System,” stated Cain.

This research utilized secondary knowledge from the Survey of Youth in Residential Placement, sponsored by the Workplace of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. That is the one nationally consultant, nameless, self-report survey that collects detailed data instantly from justice-involved youth about their prior victimization experiences.


Journal reference:

Cain, C. M. (2023). Business Sexual Exploitation Victims Handled as Offenders: Inspecting the Gendered Danger Components of Incarcerated Youth Charged with Prostitution. Victims & Offenders.

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