Sex Trafficking: A Pilot Study of Trafficked Victims

Shannon Renner, Pace University


Sex trafficking has become one of the largest industries in the United States and the world. This modern day slavery knows no limits, targeting women and men, girls and boys, of all cultures and backgrounds. Many think that sex trafficking only occurs in foreign countries, but it occurs more often in the United States than believed. There are many risk factors and protective factors for potential victims. Risk factors include having a trauma history, a history of running away from home, abuse in the home, and homelessness. Protective factors include a supportive community, education, and access to mental health resources. With continued research, personal experiences can be explored and new interventions can be developed in order to prevent future trafficking. The purpose of this study is to explore sex trafficking from the lens of the survivors leading to the development of a new intervention program. Findings from this pilot study identified risk factors including complex trauma in the home, such as sexual and physical abuse, conflict and feeling alone, homelessness, running away from home, and low socioeconomic status. Preventative factors identified included more education for those employed in helping fields including doctors, nurses, EMS, and police officers. Further, I participants desired prevention programs such as sex education, shelters for runaways, and mental health programs. This study found that many victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, experiencing flashbacks and depression. Many of the victims identified high rates of distress and anxiety as a result of their trauma.

Subject Area

Mental health|Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Renner, Shannon, "Sex Trafficking: A Pilot Study of Trafficked Victims" (2019). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI27771586.



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