Experiencers of Commercial Sexual Exploitation: How to Move Forward in the Face of Systemic Oppression

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Brooks, Sarah
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Experiencers of commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) are often recruited as minors because they are at highly vulnerable and at risk due to adverse childhood events, interaction with the child welfare systems, substance-use, being homeless, racism, colonialism, and poverty. Victims are overwhelmingly made up of females and gender diverse populations. The repetitive traumatic experiences involved as part of CSE leaves these individuals needing support in a multitude of areas including legal, physical health, mental health, housing, careers, educational support, financial assistance, and addictions support. This paper explores what recommendations can be made for counsellors to better support experiencers of commercial sex exploitation to have a successful therapeutic outcome, and how seeking to understand colonialization, and systemic racism assists in this process. Traditional treatment methods are reviewed, and possible alternative treatment paths to be researched in the future are explored. The result is overwhelming clear. First off, an individualistic, trauma-informed, and holistic approach is required whereby the treatment plan includes a broad range of services. Secondly, therapists must become more knowledgeable about systemic oppression and how that intersects into the therapeutic relationship where we are in a position of authority. Understanding this can help us name the oppression, rather than pathologize clients. A resource list of where therapists can go to start learning more about systemic racism and oppression is included.
sex trafficking , commercial sexual exploitation , domestic minor sex trafficking , racism , colonization , adverse childhood events , gender-based violence , abuse , neglect , child welfare systems , risk factors
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess