A Girl's Path to Prostitution: Linking Caregiver Adversity to Child Susceptibility

A Girl's Path to Prostitution: Linking Caregiver Adversity to Child Susceptibility
Joan A. Reid
February 2012

ISBN-13:  978-1-59332-483-4 / Hardcover
Dimensions:  5.5 x 8.5 / xii, 194 pages

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Although the Trafficking Victims Protection Act defined girls exploited in prostitution as child sex trafficking victims, these youth are often misidentified and marginalized. Due to victim inaccessibility, emergent research regarding the problem lacks theoretical framing or sufficient data for quantitative analysis. This study assesses an intergenerational path from caregiver adversity to child exploitation in prostitution drawn from Agnew’s general strain theory using structural equation modeling. Findings supported the hypotheses, revealing that highly stressed mothers were more likely to abuse their daughters. Consequently, maltreated girls more commonly attempted escape by running away, used substances earlier, and reported higher sexual denigration toward self and others. These behavioral and psychological problems heightened vulnerability to exploitation in prostitution.

About the Author

Joan A. Reid earned her Ph.D. in Criminology from the University of South Florida. For almost ten years, Joan counseled individuals recovering from sexual trauma including girls in foster care and detained in juvenile justice facilities. Her primary research concerns are human trafficking, child abuse, and sexual violence. She is currently employed as an Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida.

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