Experiences & Outcomes

Youth who are sexually exploited:

  • experience high levels of violence in the form of physical abuse, sexual violence, and verbal threats and harassment
  • at risk of violence in almost all facets of life
  • normalize violence as it becomes a taken-for-granted part of their lives
  • experience verbal harassment and threats from general members of the public
  • live in constant fear
  • become numb or desensitized to violence (key features of post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • are 2 to 3 times more likely to have considered or attempted suicide than non-exploited youth
  • are more likely to be self-injurious and engage in self-harming behaviours as well as self-destructiveness
  • demonstrate violent and aggressive behaviours
  • are more likely to have tried and used a variety of 'harder' drugs than their non-exploited peers (ex. cocaine, hallucinogens, amphetamines, inhalants, mushrooms, steroids, and prescription pills)
  • are more likely to have tried and used injection drugs such as heroin
  • are more vulnerable to harmed by violence when under the influence of drugs and alcohol
  • are at risk of becoming infected with HIV and Hepatitis C and becoming drug dependent
  • may become pregnant, which can lead to health risks for mother and fetus and possible removal of baby at birth
  • lack youth-friendly health services
  • lack routine and identification

Holger-Ambrose, B., Langmade, C., Edinburgh, L., & Saewyc, E. (2013). The illusions and juxtapositions of commercial sexual exploitation among youth: Identifying effective street-outreach strategies. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 22(4), 326-340. 

Nixon, K., Tutty, L., Downe, P., Gorkoff, K., & Ursel, J. (2002). The everyday occurrence: Violence in the lives of girls exploited through prostitution. Violence Against Women, 8(9), 1016-1043

Saewyc, E.M., MacKay, L.J., Anderson, J., & Drodza, C. (2008). It’s not what you think: Sexually exploited youth in British Columbia. University of British Columbia School of Nursing. Retrieved from http://www.nursing.ubc.ca/PDFs/ItsNotWhatYouThink.pdf