Runaway United States. The information was gathered by

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In a study by Countryman-Roswurm & Bolin (2014) who surveyed 203
homeless youth ages 15-22, found that homeless lasting more than 30 days are a
determinative factor of becoming a victim of human trafficking. This is because
one fifth of these victims had a history of survival sex to receive money,
drugs, clothing or food (Countryman- Roswurm & Bolin, 2014). Another study conducted by Wilson
& Butler (2013) found that 91% of
runaway and homeless youth live in the streets and 8.5% live in a shelter,
while 70% of youth living in the streets and 30% of youth live in shelters
engage in prostitution to finance daily needs (Wilson
& Butler, 2013). A study conducted by Chohaney (2016) used a survey by
the Ohio Human Trafficking Commission representing Ohio urban, street-based sex
workers with a sample size of 328 participants. This study used a life-course
theory framework to identify and measure the effect of direct risk factors on
domestic minor and adult sex-trafficking outcomes using multivariate logistic
regressions. The researcher Chohaney (2016) found that engaging in survival sex
while running away had the greatest effect, increasing the odds of being forced
into sex work as a minor by approximately 2.6 times, compared with those who
did not engage in survival sex while running away. In attempt to escape from a
neglectful or abusive home many vulnerable individuals end up as hostages in an
even more dangerous street life.



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A study conducted by Andretta et al. (2016) involved 901 youth which were
95% African American and 45% females. The researchers used a semi-structured
interview to gather their information. This study found that homeless youth and
youth on the run increased risk for commercial sexual exploitation.  Another study conducted by Saunders and
colleagues (2016) explored the risk factors of human trafficking in the United
States. The information was gathered by using explanatory, secondary data
analysis of a self-administered online survey of 577 mandated reporters across
the United States. As a result, they found that when the youth aged out of
foster care, run away, or who are homeless, they have shown greater risk of becoming
victims of domestic minor sex trafficking. In addition, a study by Wilson &
Butler (2013) who studied the common factors associated with the entry of sex
trade, common traumas and the common impact of human trafficking found that 326,000
children and youth are at risk for prostitution due to their status as runaway,
homeless, and throwaway youth.


Substance Abuse

A study conducted by Kramer & Berg
(2003) used survey data and a sample size of 309 women who worked as street-level
prostitutes in Arizona. This study focused on the risk factors of entry
prostitution, which were limited education, high rates of physical and sexual
abuse in childhood as well as social economic and social disadvantages.  Research
has found that from the participants personal drug use began after or while
being trafficked from 35 to 52 percent (Kramer & Berg, 2003).

The study conducted by Wilson and Butler (2013)
found that drug addictions was a risk factor in becoming involved in
prostitution such as in domestic trafficking. Also, women coping with
experiences of abuse, neglect, betrayal and powerlessness may resort to
substance use for self-soothing or a psychological escape; that may lead them
to prostitution to finance their drug habit. It was also found that, compared
to 23% of non-prostitutes, 86% of prostituted women engaged in illicit drug use
(Wilson & Butler, 2013). Substance use and dependency are widely used as
leverage by traffickers/ pimps in both domestic and international trafficking
situations, to introduce women into sex trade or by victims to manage the
psychological distress caused by being in the trade (Wilson & Butler,

Inadequate Education

The study conducted by Chohaney (2016)
found that difficulties in school doubles the odds of being trafficked into sex
work as a minor. Difficulties in school leads to lowered self-esteem, low
academic performance, contributing to feeling isolated and frustration among
youth. Consequently, youth often seek validation and acceptance, and
potentially sex traffickers who discourage school attendance, enabling the
youth to disregard school (Chohaney, 2016). Individuals who are trafficked/
prostituted typically possess marginal financial resources, have limited
education or alternative skills, and have a weak support system (Wilson &
Butler, 2013).  In a study conducted by
Sinha (2014) examined the socio-cultural and economic factors in Kolkata, India
that influenced women’s decisions to enter sex work. The study used a cultural biography
method that combines participant observations and life-history interviews to
examine how female sex workers perceive risks experiences in their lives. The
researcher studied 46 short life interviews, 3 in-depth life histories and
field-based observations. It was found that 69.59% of the females examined were
illiterate (Sinha, 2014).

research conducted by Deb et al. (2011) who studied a group of 120 sexually and
120 non-sexually abused Indian girls found due to the large population in
India, many children are denied an opportunity to gain education and skills,
which limits their life chances and social mobility.  Many children from low income families are
denied rights to continue their education especially in cultures were, male
gender is dominant, making girls more vulnerable to becoming victims of human
trafficking.  As stated by Deb et al. (2011)
29.2 % of girls were found to be illiterate and 26.6% have attended primary
school and secondary education, 33.3% of the fathers and 19.2% of their mothers
studied up to primary level of education.

Exposure to Domestic

study conducted by Verhoeven et al. (2013) involved twelve police investigations of window prostitution in Amsterdam
between the years 2006-2010. Information was gathered by face to face
interviews and telephone conversations. This study examined intimate
relationships between traffickers and victims and how their relationship
displays various characteristics of domestic violence. The different types of
domestic violence are threat of physical force, sexual or emotional abuse,
psychological violence which can be controlling someone or using intimidation (Verhoeven et al., 2013). In addition, barriers that force a
victim to stay with their partner is fear of increase violence, lack of
resources, concern for the safety of their children, or love for their

A second study was conducted by Walsh (2016) in Duluth, Minnesota which
explored the interactions between domestic violence abuse and sex
trafficking.  The study was conducted by nine
face to face interviews. In the study it was shown that an estimate of 90% of
people in prostitution are controlled by pimps, boyfriends, managers or friends
(Walsh, 2016). About 25% of women from the nine participants in the United
States stated that they were raped or physically assaulted by a spouse or a cohabitating
partner (Walsh, 2016). Other ways that traffickers control victims are by
denying education, preventing victims from getting other jobs, threatening to
take away children and blaming victims for causing abusive behaviors. In
addition, the justice systems have failed victims, because many times instead
of treating human trafficked victims, they were treated as perpetrators which
many times it becomes difficult for clients to report that they are victims of
human trafficking.

 Countryman- Roswurm & Bolin (2014) conducted an
exploratory study examining the risk factors that puts youth at risk of
becoming victims of human trafficking. Convenience sampling was used to select
the participants for the study. The sample was of twenty-three participants
ages fourteen to twenty-one. This study found that 28% of sexually exploited
women within the U.S. described a past intimate partner relationship with the
man who later trafficked them (Countryman- Roswurm & Bolin, 2014).


 The study conducted by Saunders
et al. (2016) concluded that 98% of sex trafficking victims globally are women
and young girls. According to the researcher Chohaney (2016) women are
estimated to be between 50% and 80% of whom nearly 70% are trafficked into the
sex trade. Young women and girls that are from economically deprived societies
are drawn to commercial sex exploitation by false promises. Wilson and Butler
(2013) found that a total number of sexually exploited is 4.5 million, with 98%
being female and 12% are less than 18 years old. Demographics, gender is
associated with commercial sexual exploitation of children where girls are more
likely than boys to experience victimization (Andretta et al., 2016).  Kramer et al. (2003) found that poverty and
homelessness increases the likelihood of minority women to use survival
strategies that involves deviant behavior and criminal behavior for ages 15 to
25 entered prostitution.

       A study conducted by Rafferty (2007) who
studied the experiences of young victims and the consequences for their
physical and emotional well- being found that physical appearance is a major
factor is assessing the value of girls as a product, the more beautiful the
girl, the higher the price. It was also found that 98% of forced CSE are female
ages 12 and 16 years (Rafferty, 2007). Also, the vulnerability of girls who are
living in poverty is further heightened through cultural traditions and social
norms that continue stereotypical attitudes and discrimination towards women
and girls. The ongoing discriminatory attitudes towards women and girls in
Southern Asia are rooted in its history and culture, including colonial sex
trading, prostitution and concubinage (Rafferty, 2007).  Additionally, the more marginalized status of
a women relative to men, results into the prevailing gender stereotypes and
less valued social roles, which continues to place young girls at risk of
trafficking and child sexual exploitation (Rafferty, 2007).

Childhood Maltreatment
and Sexual Abuse

In the study by Deb et al. (2011) who studied
120 sexually and non-sexually abused girls from India found that one third of
the girls that were sexually abused before being trafficked were ages between
14 and 17, while 35.7% were sexually abused between 10 and 13 years and 16.7%
were ages between 6 and 9 years. Deb et al. (2011) also found that 55.8% of the
perpetrators were strangers, 29.2% were relatives and 15.0% belonged to another

A study conducted by Liles et al. (2016) reviewed
the recent public policy and community responses related to the needs of CSEC
youth involved in the juvenile justice system. Approximately 80-90% of youth
have history of sexual abuse and 70%-80% have a previous involvement in the
child welfare system (Liles et al., 2016). Consequently, childhood sexual abuse
has been shown to increase the likelihood of victims entering prostitution by
nearly 50% (Saunders et al., 2016). Trauma histories that include loss, abandonment,
and physical, emotional, or sexual abuse are common in domestic minor sex

A study conducted by Hickle & Roe-
Sepowitz (2017) conducted mixed method study to explore the entry into the sex
trade among 478 adult women enrolled in a prostitution diversion program.
Open-ended survey questions were coded using a template approach to content
analysis. The results showed that 161 participants stated experiencing abuse
during childhood (Hickle & Roe- Sepowitz, 2017). Women that reported
childhood abuse had experienced childhood rape, childhood physical abuse,
witnessed drug abuse and domestic violence.

Countryman- Roswurm & Bolin (2014) conducted
an exploratory study that examined the risk factors that puts youth at risk of
becoming victims of human trafficking. Convenience sampling was used to select
the participants for the study. The sample was of twenty-three participants
ages fourteen to twenty-one.  The results showed
that 90%
had experienced physical abuse and one-third had experienced sexual abuse (Countryman- Roswurm & Bolin, 2014). Sexual abuse was
shown to be a significant predictor of adolescent girls becoming victims of
human trafficking. Physical abuse was experienced by 65% of participants, 82% experienced
emotional abuse 70% and 90% of DMST had experienced child sexual abuse (Countryman-
Roswurm & Bolin, 2014). 65% to more than 80% of participants experienced
childhood sexual molestation, rape and incest (Countryman- Roswurm & Bolin,

The study conducted by Kramer & Berg (2013) who used survey data and a
sample size of 309 women found that childhood sexual abuse is a high-risk factor
of becoming involved in sex work. Adult women in prostitution often report a
history of childhood physical abuse as well as sexual abuse. Studies found that
60-70 percent of prostitute’s report being physically abused as children (Kramer & Berg, 2013). 
Sexual abuse and physical abuse in childhood can result in emotional
problems from trauma which leads in to dependence on drugs and alcohol (Kramer
& Berg, 2013). 

Wilson & Butler (2013) found that
within the U.S. sixty-five to 95% of those in trade report that their decision
to enter sex trade was affected by child abuse. Many of the victims were
sexually molested by family members, relatives or neighbors.  Children who experience chronic sexual abuse
view themselves as objects and display inappropriate behavior for their level
of development (Wilson & Butler, 2013). It was also found that around 85%
of sexually exploited and trafficked children had prior child welfare
involvement, including child abuse or neglect allegations/ investigations
(Wilson & Butler, 2013).

A study conducted by Reid et al. (2017)
compared the prevalence of adverse childhood experience and cumulative childhood
aversity among a sample of 913 participants in the juvenile justice system
which involved boys and girls in Florida. The information was gathered by using
human trafficking abuse reports between 2009 and 2015. They found that sexual
abuse was the strongest predictor of human trafficking, the results were that
it was 2.5 times greater for girls to become victims of human trafficking and
in contrast it was found that 8.21 times greater for boys who had histories of
sexual abuse (Reid et al., 2017).


According to Wilson and Butler (2013) poverty
and low socio-economic status are a major risk factor of becoming a victim of
human trafficking. Lack of resources in both family and the community increase
the vulnerability of becoming victims of child sexual exploitation (Wilson
& Butler, 2013).  It was also found
that families prompt their children, youth and women to explore alternative
resources of income which results in narrowed down opportunities that result
from illiteracy, a lack of marketable skills, such as unemployment leaving few
options and exchange sexual favors for food, shelter, clothing and drugs (Wilson
& Butler, 2013). These circumstances can easily lead a potential victim by
false promises of money, freedom, and leading a better life. For international
victims who are the primary breadwinners for their families the choice to enter
the sex trade may be made to unsure the family (Wilson & Butler, 2013).

study conducted by Rafferty (2007) who focused on child trafficking in South
Asia found that rural poverty in Africa often causes poor families to sell
their children to traffickers, hoping to improve the life of their children. As
stated by Rafferty (2007) poverty and increased economic inequality are risk
factors associated with child trafficking and child sexual exportation. Another study by Kramer & Berg (2003) found that race,
class oppression, poverty and homelessness increase the likelihood of minority
women adopting survival strategies that involve deviant and criminal behavior. It
was also shown from this study that minority women have suffered substantial
social, educational, and economic disadvantages which put them at higher risk of
becoming involved in human trafficking (Kramer & Berg, 2003).

Dysfunctional Families

Wilson & Butler,
(2013) studied the common factors associated with the entry of sex trade,
common traumas and the common impact of human
trafficking. Children from economically deprived or broken families become
disconnected from support systems, increasing their risk of exploitation on the
streets (Wilson & Butler, 2013). This study also resulted in finding that
families that are dysfunctional, are involved with substance abuse, or there is
child maltreatment within the family may result in the involvement of child
protective services and the risk of child sexual exploitation which increases likelihood
for children to be removed from their families. It was found that three
quarters of children who were sexually exploited and trafficked had been in
foster care (Wilson & Butler, 2013). 
This results into many children that come from economically deprived
and/or broken families can become demoralized, alienated and disconnected from
support systems, increasing their risk of exploitation in the streets to which
many of them flee.

stated by Rafferty, (2007) the risk factors associated
with child trafficking are exacerbated for children without adequate family
protections. For, example, girls from impoverished families, and dysfunctional
families, are the most at risk of becoming victims of trafficking.  The study by Kramer & Berg (2003),
found that family backgrounds of prostitutes are often chaotic and
dysfunctional. One study found that 35-58 percent of prostitutes had caregivers
who abused alcohol. This shows that dysfunctional families as well as abusive
caregivers put individuals at a higher risk of becoming vulnerable into falling
into becoming victims of human trafficking.

Juvenile Justice System

A study conducted by Reid et al.,
(2017) compared the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences and cumulative
childhood adversity of a sample of 913 in the juvenile justice system involving
boys and girls in Florida. The data was collected by using the Florida child
abuse hotline reports from 2009-2015. Youth that are victims of human
trafficking are frequently arrested and detained in the juvenile justice
system. Many victims are already seen as a perpetrator instead of the victim,
human traffickers often manipulate youth and coerce their involvement in
criminal operations and victims are linked to the use of alcohol or drugs,
increases the likelihood of juvenile victims being detained for drug related


A study was conducted by Chohaney (2016) used a cross-sectional survey
by Ohio Human Trafficking Commission, which studied the street based sex workers
of a sample size of 328 participants. The study showed that spending time in
juvenile detention doubles the odds of being trafficked into sex work as a
minor. Exposure to correctional detainees involved with sex traffickers
increases the risk of recruitment among incarcerated adult females, and the
risk apparently persists among girls in juvenile corrections (Chohaney, 2016).  

The study conducted by Andretta et al. (2016) found that youth involved with
the juvenile justice system are more likely to be commercial sexual
exploitation victims than peers who are not. Many CSEC victim’s juvenile
records include runaway charges and or charges intended to mask prostitution. Researchers
also suggested that 90% of youth involved in the juvenile justice system have
experienced at least one traumatic event and present with unique challenges
(Liles et al., 2016).

Lack of parental

 The study conducted by
Derluyn et al. (2009) studied a group of minors travelling alone to the airport
of Brussels Airport in Belgium. This study studied the characteristics,
procedures and risks of minors falling into becoming victims of forced labor or
commercial sexual exploitation. In the study one-third of unaccompanied or
separated children were under the age 18 and from an outside country of origin.
They were also separated from both parents or previous legal or primary
caregiver. Many of these children are separated from their parents which puts
them at higher risk of being trafficked. The first group that was studied was
the unaccompanied minors, which are minors ages 5 through 12 who travel without
an adult. The second group that was studied were the “young passengers” who
travel completely alone and are considered old enough to travel alone. The
third group was the minor third party which travel with an adult that are not
their parent or guardian. Many of these children usually do not have the protection
of a parent or caregiver which makes them more vulnerable to groups of
smugglers and traffickers. They usually easily fall into prey to human
traffickers who provide false papers and access into the country. Additionally,
many minors travel during holidays or due to migration purposes which results
into a subject to circumstances of human trafficking and exploitation.  

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