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Acad Pediatr. 2017 Nov - Dec;17(8):825-829. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2017.07.009. Epub 2017 Aug 7.

Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Children and Adolescents: A Narrative Review.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, Calif. Electronic address: ebarnert@mednet.ucla.edu.
2
Department of Pediatrics, Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif.
3
Department of Pediatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, Calif; UCLA Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, Los Angeles, Calif; Department of Pediatrics, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, Calif.
4
Stephanie Blank Center for Safe and Healthy Children, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, Ga.

Abstract

Commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of children and adolescents represent a severe form of child abuse and an important pediatric health concern. Youth who are commercially sexually exploited have a constellation of clinical risk factors and high rates of unmet physical and mental health needs, including conditions that directly result from their victimization. Common physical health needs among commercially sexually exploited children and adolescents include violence-related injuries, pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and other acute infections. Common mental health conditions include substance use disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and suicidality, and anxiety. The existing literature indicates that trauma-informed approaches to the care of commercially sexually exploited youth are recommended in all aspects of their health care delivery. Additionally, medical education that attunes providers to identify and appropriately respond to the unique needs of this highly vulnerable group of children and adolescents is needed. The available research on commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of children and adolescents remains fairly limited, yet is expanding rapidly. Especially relevant to the field of pediatrics, future research to guide health professionals in how best to identify and care for commercially sexually exploited children and adolescents in the clinical setting signifies a key gap in the extant literature and an important opportunity for future study.

KEYWORDS:

adolescent; child; child abuse; commercial sexual exploitation of children; human trafficking; sexual

PMID:
28797913
PMCID:
PMC5673585
[Available on 2018-11-01]
DOI:
10.1016/j.acap.2017.07.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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