Research & Resources

Thank you for your interest in this important issue. The Research & Resources section is designed to aid your research and provide answers to most of the frequently asked questions we receive related to projects and papers on commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking.

Facts About Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) and Domestic Trafficking

  • CSEC is sexual activity involving a child in exchange for something of value, or promise thereof, to the child or another person or persons. The child is treated as a commercial and sexual object. CSEC is a form of violence against children.
  • In New York City alone there are an estimated 2,200 children victimized by commercial sexual exploitation annually (OCFS 2007 Prevalence Study).
  • The Department of Justice estimates the most frequent age of entry into the commercial sex industry in the United States is 12–14 years old (
  • 100,000–300,000 children are at risk for commercial sexual exploitation each year in the United States (Estes & Weiner, 2001).
  • 70–90% of commercially sexually exploited children have a history of child sexual abuse (Murphy, 1993).

Resources on US Programs, Policy, and Legislation:

Media and Culture

Rachel Lloyd’s Letter to the Editor of the Daily News on Media’s Descriptions of CSEC and Domestic Trafficking Victims

Hip Hop and Glorifying Pimp Culture:
“Corporate Sponsored Pimping Plays Role in US Human Trafficking”

Other Publications:
“The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico”: This national study by Richard J. Estes and Neil Alan Weiner contains general statistics on the commercial sexual exploitation of children occurring throughout the US.

“New York Prevalence Study of Commercially Sexually Exploited Children”: This OCFS-funded state-specific study is by contract research organization Westat.

“A Stages of Change Approach to Helping Patients Change Behavior”: This article, by the American Family Physician, discusses Prochaska and Diclemente’s Stages of Change Model, which GEMS uses in Support Services programming.

“The Effects of Federal Legislation on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children”: The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention produced this recent bulletin.

“From Victim to Survivor, From Survivor to Leader“: This White-Paper Project documents the experiences of GEMS’ members at GEMS, how they viewed these experiences, what they felt they’d learned, and what they need to feel supported in their development.

Breaking the Silence

Published in collaboration with the girls of GEMS, this high-quality printed book explores commercial sexual exploitation through personal stories, poems, and artwork by survivors. The first book of its kind in the country, Breaking the Silence represents the opportunity for sexually exploited and trafficked girls to share their experiences, pain, fears and hopes for the future and finally have their voices heard. Click here for a preview of the book.

Very Young Girls

Critically acclaimed by the New York Times and Film Festivals around the world, Very Young Girls is an expose of human trafficking that follows thirteen and fourteen year old American girls as they are seduced, abused, and sold on New York’s streets by pimps, and treated as adult criminals by police. The film follows the barely-adolescent girls in real time, using vérité and intimate interviews with them as they are first lured on to the streets and the dire events which follow. Click here to purchase the movie.

Girls Like Us

In Girls Like Us, Lloyd reveals the dark, secretive world of her past in stunning cinematic detail. And, with great humanity, she lovingly shares the stories of the girls whose lives she has helped—small victories that have healed her wounds and made her whole. Revelatory, authentic, and brave, Girls Like Us is an unforgettable memoir.  Purchase the book on Amazon. 

Helpful Studies

Estes, J. & Weiner, N.A. (2001). The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Executive Summary (Of the U.S. National Study). Philadelphia, PA

Westat. (2007). New York Prevalence Study of Commercially Sexually Exploited Children. New York: Gregg, Petta, Bernstein, Eisen & Quinn.

Web Resources

End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT USA)

Prostitution Research and Education Website

Coalition Against Trafficking of Women (CATW)

Equality Now