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Policy Polit Nurs Pract. 2015 Feb-May;16(1-2):17-26. doi: 10.1177/1527154415583124. Epub 2015 Apr 23.

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and State Child Welfare Systems.

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Rush University, Chicago, IL, USA
Rush University, Chicago, IL, USA.


In several states, commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is now a reportable child abuse offense. Illinois has taken the lead in tackling the issue and the Illinois experience illuminates valuable lessons. This article delineates the protection, practice, and policy implications that evolve when CSEC falls under a state child welfare system. The specific aims are to (a) discuss CSEC, its victims, risks, harms, and challenges inherent in providing effective care; (b) use Illinois as an exemplar to explicate the consequences and implementation challenges of establishing a state reporting system that frames CSEC as a child welfare issue; (c) recommend strategies for developing effective state reporting models, and (d) demonstrate how nurses are well poised to advocate for victims of human trafficking on both state and national levels. Recommendations for improving the identification of CSEC victims and overcoming challenges to state implementation are offered.


child welfare; policy; prostitution; sexual abuse

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