The National Institute of Justice awarded Amy Farrell (PI) and Carlos Cuevas (Co-PI) $985,786 for their project Understanding the Physical and Psychological Health and Wellness Needs of Minor Sex Trafficking Victims. The researchers will work alongside partners at Boston University, University of New Hampshire, and RTI.
Trafficking survivors are at risk for experiencing many health-related problems. However, little is known about the specific health consequences of sex trafficking of minors, as the field is primarily informed by research on adults and with non-U.S. samples, limiting the generalizability to U.S. youth. The proposed study will utilize a multi-method approach to advance research knowledge on health outcomes for minor sex trafficking survivors and improve our understanding of factors that facilitate and impede health care access. Specifically, the research team will work with seven established minor sex trafficking-serving community-based service provider organizations from across the United States to recruit a large sample of commercially sexually exploited youth (N=500) to participate in an anonymous health survey. The youth surveys will be supplemented with 20 in-depth interviews with adult survivors of minor sex trafficking who are in an appropriate place in their recovery to provide information and context about the physical and psychological health consequences of sex trafficking victimization and the barriers or facilitators of health care services and access. The proposed study is the first of its kind to utilize a robust sampling mechanism to capture the experiences of a large sample of minor sex trafficking survivors in the United States to enhance our understanding of the short- and long-term health consequences of sex trafficking.
Congratulations Amy and Carlos!