Commercially Sexually Exploited Youths’ Health Care Experiences, Barriers, And Recommendations: A Qualitative Analysis.
Ijadi-Maghsoodi, Roya. Bath, Eraka. Cook, Mekeila. Textor, Lauren. Barnert, Elizabeth.
Published: February 2018
Child Abuse and Neglect
Vol. 76 , p. 334-341
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The current study sought to understand commercially sexually exploited (CSE) youths’ health care experiences, barriers to care, and recommendations for improving health care services. We conducted focus groups (N = 5) with 18 CSE youth from February 2015 through May 2016 at two group homes serving CSE youth in Southern California. We performed thematic content analysis to identify emergent themes about CSE youths’ perspectives on health care. Youth described facilitators to care, including availability of services such as screening for sexually transmitted infections, knowledge about sexual health, and a strong motivation to stay healthy. Barriers included feeling judged, concerns about confidentiality, fear, perceived low quality of services, and self-reliance. Overall, youth emphasized self-reliance and “street smarts” for survival and de-emphasized “victimhood,” which shaped their interactions with health care, and recommended that health providers develop increased understanding of CSE youth. Our findings suggest that providers and community agencies can play an essential role in raising awareness of the needs of CSE youth and meet their health needs through creating a non-judgmental environment in health care settings that validates the experiences of these youth. (Author abstract)
SEXUAL EXPLOITATION; CHILD PROSTITUTION; HEALTH SERVICES; BARRIERS; FOSTER ADOLESCENTS; GROUP HOMES; SCREENING; Venereal diseases; SEX EDUCATION; FEAR