Poster: Understanding the Experiences of Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC)

Understanding the Experiences of Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC)

Lauren Suarez, B.A., Marlaine Monroig, MSed, Alyssa Vazquez, B.A., Kyla Leonard, Debbiesiu Lee, Ph.D., Etiony Aldarondo, Ph.D., The University of Miami School of Education and Human Development

This dissertation aims to address the lack of literature surrounding commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC) (Goździak, 2008) through the use of Photovoice, an innovative and arts-based research methodology (Wang, 1999). A commercial sex act induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or performed by legal minor, is defined as “sex trafficking”, a crime that combines physical, psychological, and sexual violence against vulnerable youth (VTVPA, 103(8)). Fifteen female survivors participated in a 12 week project where they visually documented their experiences, engaged in critical discussions, and completed an advocacy initiative.  Photos and transcribed audio recordings of discussion sessions were qualitatively coded and systematically analyzed following an inductive method based on thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) and adapted procedures from Charmaz’s (2006) version of grounded theory. A process model of exploitation was developed to aid in effectively identifying CSEC, providing culturally appropriate and effective services to survivors, and limiting re-victimization.

Keywords: CSEC, sex trafficking, Photovoice, CBPR