The commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) and domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) are abusive and exploitative practices occurring to children and youth across the United States. Prevention efforts should understand the factors that increase vulnerability and how these factors interact to eventually lead to exploitation. Understanding the mechanisms of action of these factors is best done within relevant frameworks and models. This review summarizes proposed frameworks for these vulnerabilities as collected via a systematic literature review. Fifteen studies capturing 12 frameworks or theories were selected for inclusion having met the following criteria: original research studies published in English from January 2010 to September 2017 with titles or abstracts that indicated a focus on the risk factors, vulnerabilities, or statistics of CSEC/DMST; a domestic focus on CSEC/DMST (for U.S.-based journals) with findings that did not combine associations between minors and adults in the study; and inclusion or mention of frameworks or theories which considered potential vulnerabilities prior to exploitation. Highly applicable frameworks include the life-course perspective, ecological model, multilevel model, ecodevelopment model, traumagenic factors, and general strain theory. Others found by this review include the age-graded theory of informal social control, career criminal paradigm, revictimization theory, an economic model, feminist theory, and a rights-based model. By mapping known risk factors to their appropriate place in the reviewed and relevant frameworks, this article seeks to enhance our understanding of the connections between and mechanisms of these risk factors, while also clarifying areas where prevention efforts can be targeted.
- commercial sexual exploitation of children
- domestic minor sex trafficking
- gender-based violence