“We’re Automatically Sex in Men’s Eyes, We’re Nothing But Sex…”: Homeless Young Adult Perceptions of Sexual Exploitation

Fogel, K. F.,
Martin, L.,
Nelson, B.,
Thomas, M.,
Porta, C. M.
Published: Electronically published in 2016
(a more recently published version of this article may be available)
Journal Article
Journal Name: 
Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma

Research shows that homeless youth are uniquely vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation (CSE). In this study, the authors conducted focus groups with homeless young adults to explore their perspectives on definitions and pathways of CSE. Participants were 24 female-identifying young adults (ages 18–23) of diverse sexual orientation and race/ethnicity who were currently or formerly homeless. Some of the participants’ perceptions were consistent with previously documented pathways into CSE. However, several important novel themes emerged, including sexual exploitation as a continuum of sexually explicit interactions (i.e. stripping, fetish, survival sex, trafficking); pervasive conversations and decision-making about CSE in homeless youth and young adult culture; and the paradoxical issue that service-seeking around homelessness and overt identification of CSE victims can target them for greater victimization. The authors discuss the implications for practice and research. Modified Author Abstract.

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