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Exiting the Commercial Sex Trade: An Exploratory Study

Award Information

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Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2013, $30,000)

The purpose of this award is to examine and provide detailed accounts of the process men and women undergo when exiting the commercial sex trade and explore the role of service providers in the exiting process. To date, the number of people and range of activities related to the commercial sex trade in the Midwest has not been explored, yet is thought to be significant, with substantial impact on the criminal justice and social service systems. This study will yield information about the scope of the problem, the type and range of responses to it from the criminal justice and social service sectors, the factors that influence one's decision to exit the trade, and the services and supports needed to successfully exit.

Purposeful sampling in the Kansas City area is used to recruit subjects. The research subjects will be sampled from two agencies providing direct services to commercially sexually exploited adolescents and adults. The final sample will consist of (1) 30 clients, 18 years or older, who are, voluntarily or not, involved in the commercial sex trade and who have successfully exited or are in the process of exiting; and (2) 15 service providers working directly with this population. Clients represent diverse ethnic and racial groups, are predominantly female, and are between ages 18 and 57.

A qualitative, ethnographic case study method frames this study. A series of individual, open-ended interviews with clients at two direct service agencies are being conducted. Follow-up interviews will be conducted to gather data about where these subjects are in the exiting process, and to complete member checks. A series of individual and group, open-ended interviews with staff at the agencies are being conducted. An in-depth semi-structured interview schedule guides all interviews.

Using Atlas.ti open coding will be used to identify, name, categorize, and describe primary patterns in the data. A coding scheme/structure will be developed through multiple iterations of open coding. After open coding is complete, focused coding will identify themes and patterns in the data. Descriptive statistics will be generated to describe the study population. ca/ncf

Date Created: September 8, 2013