GEMS Training Institute:
Learning to Work with Commercially Sexually
Exploited (CSE) and Domestically Trafficked
September 9, 2014
Jenia Brown
Training and Technical
Assistance Coordinator
The nation’s largest organization providing direct
services specifically to commercially sexually
exploited girls & young women
Only organization in NY State specifically designed
to serve girls & young women who have experienced
commercial sexual exploitation & domestic trafficking
Serves girls & young women ages 12-24
Long-term holistic care model:
- Direct services
- Court advocacy
- ATI Program
- Outreach (street & facility)
- Trauma-based therapy and clinical supervision
- Case management
- Transitional housing
- Youth development/leadership
Provides Training & TA to law enforcement, prosecutors,
judges and service providers nationwide
GEMS Victim, Survivor,
There are three primary interconnected components of GEMS
Victim, Survivor, LeaderTM model:
– Direct services
– Public awareness and education
– Advocacy and systemic reform
All components are survivor-led & survivor-informed
GEMS’ movie clip
Making of a Girl
“Teen Prostitution”
Commercial Sexual
Exploitation of Children
Language & Sensitivity
Language & Sensitivity
Child/Teen Prostitute
drug abuse/addict
“making money”
kid involved in the system(s)
“ho” “slut”
Who’s problem? Law
Sexually Exploited Child
needs help
needs/wants to be rescued
controlled by adult
Who’s problem? Everyone
Language & Sensitivity
Changing language…
Reframes the issue as a form of child abuse
Expresses the philosophy that sexually exploited children deserve
support services instead of jail sentences
More accurately represents the scope of the issue and the reality of
exploited youths’ experiences
Creates a common language to facilitate moving toward facilitating a
community response plan
CSEC Is...
The commercial sexual exploitation of children is:
Sexual activity involving a child in exchange for
something of value, or promise thereof, to the
child or another person or persons.
Child is treated as a commercial & sexual object.
CSEC is a form of violence against children.
Sofia’s father begins
molesting her at age 6.
Child Sexual Abuse
Sexual Exploitation of Children
Commercial Sexual
Exploitation of Children
Minor Sex
At age 14 Sofia begins having
sex with her 20 year old
boyfriend. (SEC)
Sofia is 15 when she begins dancing
in a strip club. (CSEC)
Sofia is 16 when the strip club owner
threatens her and forces her to
exchange sex for money in the VIP
lounge. (DMST)
CSEC Includes…
street exploitation
child pornography
erotic/nude massage
escort services
phone sex lines
private parties
gang-based exploitation
interfamilial pimping
forms of Internet-based exploitation
Related Issue:
Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking
Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST)
Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) consists of
all forms of CSEC involving a third party that profits
from the sexual activity with a child originating from
the country in which the activity occurs.
 American youth under pimp control are domestic
minor sex trafficking victims.
Trafficking Victims Protection
TVPA of 2000 defines “severe forms of trafficking in persons” in
this two-tiered definition:
Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by
force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to
perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or
The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or
obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of
force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of subjection to
involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
CSEC in the United States
At least 100,000 to 300,000 youth are at risk for
commercial sexual exploitation annually in the U.S.
(Estes and Wiener, 2001)
“At least 100,000 children are used in prostitution
every year in the U.S.” (The National Report on DMST: America’s Prostituted
Children, 2010, Shared Hope.)
The most common age of entry into the commercial
sex industry in the U.S. is 12-14 years old. (US Department of
Justice, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section)
Addressing Contributing Factors
Exploitation and
Video Clip
MTV-U Hotel Room PSA
“It’s not a choice, no one just wakes up and
wants to do this. You can’t just walk away.”
- CSEC Survivor
Risk Factors
What were some of the risk factors that make
youth vulnerable for commercial sexual
Risk Factors
Domestic violence
Mental Health Issues
“Throw Away”
Substance Abuse
Access to technology
Adult Sex Industry
Transient Male Population
Street Involved Culture/Economy
Sexualization of Girls/Young Women
Sexualization of Boys
Glorification of Pimp Culture
Inaccessibility of Legal Economies
Acceptance of Violence v. Women &
Minority Groups
Developmental/Learning Disabilities
Unaddressed Trauma
Risk Factors
Multiple studies estimate that…
70-90% of sexually exploited children have a history of
child sexual abuse
1. Bagley, C. & Young, L. (1987). Juvenile Prostitution and Child Sexual Abuse: A Controlled Study. Canadian
Journal of Community Mental Health.
2. Annual Report. (1991). Council for Prostitution Alternatives. Portland, Oregon.
3. Murphy, Patricia. (1993). Making Connections: Women, Work, and Abuse. Paul M. Deutsch Press, Florida.
©Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS)
Pathways to Entry
Ways recruitment can happen:
Parents selling children
Violence and force
Seduction and coercion
False advertising for “modeling,” “acting,” or “dancing”
Peer recruitment
Internet enticement through chat rooms or profile-sharing
Brainstorming Questions:
Who is effected by CSE?
What are some of the ways that CSEC
impacts our society?
Impacts the local economy- Cost tax payers dollars
Decreases safety in neighborhoods
Links to other types of crime: guns, drugs, organized crime
Promotes negative images for children
Creates demand, a need for supply, and increased recruitment of
Directly exposes children to CSE locations
Creates danger for children
Costs resources of social service and healthcare systems
Costs resources of law enforcement and court systems
Contributes to long-term impacts of prostituted adults and costs to
Impact of CSE on Society
Early Intervention is Key:
Early intervention to avoid sex trading and trafficking of
Minnesota’s female youth passes a rigorous benefit-cost
test with a return on investment of $34 in benefit for each
$1 in cost.
Therefore we find that it is in the best interest of
Minnesota taxpayers to invest in prevention and early
intervention services for runaway and/ or homeless
adolescent girls in the state who are at highest risk for
sex trading and trafficking.
Early Intervention to Avoid Sex Trading and Trafficking of Minnesota’s Female Youth:
A Benefit-Cost Analysis
Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, 2012
Studies of adult women in the sex industry
report that…
62% of respondents had been raped in prostitution
73% had experienced physical assault in prostitution
72% were currently or formerly homeless
92% stated that they wanted to escape prostitution immediately
78% of 55 women who sought help from the Council for
Prostitution Alternatives in 1991 reported being raped an average of 16 times
a year by pimps, and were raped 33 times a year by johns.
Melissa Farley, Isin Baral, Merab Kiremire, Ufuk Sezgin, "Prostitution in Five Countries: Violence and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder" (1998)
Feminism & Psychology 8 (4): 405-426
Susan Kay Hunter, Council for Prostitution Alternatives Annual Report, 1991, Portland, Oregon
Reflection Question:
What impact does this level of violence and abuse
have on an individual?
Psychological/Emotional Impact of CSEC
Disruption of healthy psychological development
 Self-concept, intimacy, beliefs and goals
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
 Impulse to revisit traumatic events,
intrusive emotions & memories, flashbacks, hyper arousal,
exaggerated startle reaction, panic symptoms
Self-injurious and suicidal behavior
Dissociative disorders
Clinical depression
Explosive outbursts
Sleep disturbance & nightmares
Bond with perpetrators
Spiritual Impact of CSEC
Lack of belief in humanity
Lack of faith in spiritual power
Physical Impact of CSEC
Continuous physical abuse
Rape & gang rape
Loss of bowel control
Pregnancy (wanted and unwanted)
Facial/dental reconstruction
Tattoos & branding
Brain damage
Substance abuse/addiction
Social Impact of CSEC
Emotional Impact of CSEC
Anger and rage
Deep emotional pain/grieving
Feelings of humiliation/shame
Stigma of exploitation
Loss of sexual desire, feelings, or response
Isolation from peer group
Disconnection from community
Isolation from mainstream society
Incarceration/Criminal record as obstacle
Lack of life skills
Trust issues/Difficulty maintaining relationships
Obstacles to vocation
Lack of access to legal economies, lack of job experience/skills
Educational deprivation
Missed school, disconnection with school system
Handout 3.3
Working with CSEC Victims
Tangible Needs
Crisis housing
Longterm housing
Job or income
Viable alternatives for employment
Legal representation and/or advocacy
Opportunities to develop new skills and strengths
Medical and/or dental care
Health education
Mental healthcare
Counseling and/or case management
Safety plan
Childcare and/or parenting skills
Intangible Needs
Nonjudgmental environment
Engagement in positive community
Healthy adult relationships
Mentors and/or positive role models
Supportive peers
Understanding of the recovery process
Affirmation of skills and strengths
Recognition of abuse and trauma
An opportunity to not be defined solely by abuse and trauma
A sense of empowerment in one's own healing and restoration
Political education to understand the issue of CSEC
Youth leadership opportunities
Love & Holistic care
Working with CSE Victims:
Key Points
Be aware of your actions when working with
Set a nonjudgmental and empathetic tone
Treat the individual as a victim of trauma
and abuse
GEMS Programming
“The Program is a space where I can be
myself…Because it’s like they don’t judge
me on things that I do or things that I’ve
been through in the past.”
- CSEC Survivor
Current Need for VSL
Programs are focused on the victim stage
“Rescue” mentality prevalent
Limits survivors in their recovery and life
VSL Contributing Frameworks
VSL Foundational Principles
VSL Core Values
Thank You!
To request additional trainings:
For general training inquiries:
[email protected]

commercial sexual exploitation - National Center for Victims of Crime