Sex Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation: Prevention, Advocacy, and Trauma-Informed Practice

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Springer Publishing Company, Sep 28, 2017 - Social Science - 266 pages

This is the first comprehensive text to critically analyze the current research and best practices for working with children, adolescents, and adults involved in sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation (CSE). With a unique, research-based focus on practice, the book synthesizes the key areas related to working with victims of sex trafficking/ CSE including prevention, identification, practice techniques, and program design as well as suggested interagency, criminal justice, and legislative responses. Best practices are examined through an intersectional, trauma-informed lens that adheres to principles of cultural competency.

Highlights include:

  • Integrates a trauma informed lens in practice, program design, and interagency responses.
  • Uses an intersectional approach to examine identity-based oppression such as race, class, sex, LGBTQ identities, age, immigrant status, and intellectual disabilities.
  • Highlights the importance of cultural competency in practice and program design, prevention and outreach efforts, and interagency and criminal justice system responses.
  • Reviews the different types of sex trafficking and CSE, the physiological and psychological effects, various risk factors, and the distinct needs of survivors to encourage practitioners to tailor interventions to the specific needs of each client.
  • Examines the role of social workers and practitioners in interagency, legislative, and criminal justice responses to sex trafficking.
  • Takes a broad societal perspective by examining the role of macro-level risk factors facilitating sex trafficking victimization.

The book analyzes the commonly reported indicators of sex trafficking/CSE, how to conduct a screening with potential victims, and direct practice techniques with various populations including evidence-based trauma treatments. Other chapters guide the reader in implementing trauma-informed programming in a variety of organizational settings, advocating for sex trafficking and CSE survivors within the criminal justice system, and implementing effective prevention and outreach programs in schools and community organizations.

Intended as a text for upper division courses on sex or human trafficking, interventions with women, trauma interventions, violence against women, or gender and crime taught in social work, psychology, counseling, and criminal justice, this book is also an ideal resource for practitioners working with victims of sex trafficking and CSE in a variety of settings including child protective services, the criminal justice system, healthcare, schools, and more.


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Prevention and Outreach
Identification and Screening
Direct Practice
Programmatic Design
Interagency and CommunityBased Responses
Criminal Justice System and Legislative Responses
Recommendations and Reflections

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About the author (2017)

Lara B. Gerassi, Ph.D., LCSW is an assistant professor at the School of Social Work and an affiliate of the Department of Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. She earned her Ph.D. from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, where she was a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) TranSTAR T32 pre-doctoral fellow. She is the author of numerous publications and book chapters focusing on sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation and has presented her work at national conferences including the Society for Social Work Research and Council on Social Work Education.

Andrea J. Nichols, PhD is a Carnegie Award-winning professor of sociology at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park, and lecturer and anti-trafficking initiative coordinator at Washington University in St. Louis. She received her Ph.D. in criminology from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Andrea is the author of numerous books and articles examining sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, including Sex Trafficking in the United States: Theory Research Policy and Practice (2016). She is the American Society of Criminology’s Division on Women and Crime’s 2015 New Scholar Award winner and Feminist Criminology’s 2013 Best Article of the Year Award winner.

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