Commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) of youth is a public health issue with multiple negative consequences. Despite the complexities and comprehensiveness of service needs for youth experiencing CSE, the evidence base of effective services and programs lags far behind. This scoping review seeks to identify the most up-to-date evidence on programs for youth experiencing CSE that have been evaluated and found to be effective.
We conducted a scoping review of current literature, including peer-reviewed articles as well as gray literature using a scientific approach to identify programs and service provisions specifically focused on youth experiencing CSE and examine empirical evidence for their effectiveness. A comprehensive search of five databases was completed in September 2020 then updated in April 2021 to identify relevant publications from January 1, 2000 to present. Additional program mining was conducted on evaluations of programs mentioned in the search results. A total of 3,597 citations from the database searches were screened for title and abstract and 190 citations were included for full-text review. The search process yielded 11 eligible articles with one additional report found through program mining. Identified programs targeted youth, providers, and consumers of CSE. While scientific rigor was not high, all included studies reported positive outcomes. Evidence base for effective services and programs is sparse. While more programs and services are being developed, studies should use rigorous research designs to test the effectiveness of these programs and services. Implications for practice and policy are discussed. (Publisher abstract provided)