Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Rosella Collins-Puoch, Ed. D., LICSW


Social Work


Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LICSW) provide services to vulnerable populations. As the number of sexually exploited women in Minnesota and the United States grows, so does the number of women needing services from social workers. It is important that LICSWs understand the population of women who have engaged in prostitution that were victims of sexual exploitation as children. If LICSWs are knowledgeable about the commonalities and shared experiences of the women they serve, they may be able to identify common risk factors and provide appropriate services. This research study sought to identify the commonalities and shared experiences of female prostitutes that were sexually exploited as children. The major themes that emerged from this data were: 1) females who engage in prostitution are often victims of child sexual exploitation; 2) common risk factors exist; 3) family dysfunction leads to survival sex; 4) poor self-esteem; 5) barriers to receiving service exist; 6) technology has increased the invisibility of victims; 7) the definition of sexual exploitation is too broad and hard to understand; 8) mentors are important, and 9) group therapy can be effective in helping victims to heal. Implications for social worker practice and future research are discussed.

Included in

Social Work Commons