Faculty Publications


Rapid Assessment Exploring Impediments to Successful Prosecutions of Sex Traffickers of U.S. Minors

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Joan A Reid

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2012


Critical psychological, systemic, and legislative barriers to the successful prosecution of child sex traffickers who exploit U.S. citizens were uncovered during a rapid assessment conducted in a U.S. metropolitan region considered a high intensity child prostitution area. Information obtained during 34 face-to-face interviews with criminal justice professionals most likely to encounter child sex trafficking victims was supported by the collection of supplementary quantitative data. Findings revealed complex psychological factors that deter victim participation in prosecutions of traffickers such as child victims’ denial of exploitation, trauma bonding between victims and traffickers, and frequent flight and revictimization. Existing inadequacies within the criminal justice system were found that may contribute to child sex trafficking persisting as a low risk/high reward crime.