Adult female survivors of commercial sexual exploitation speak about factors that led to their victimization




Johnson, Amy

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This study used grounded theory to explore how adult female survivors of commercial sexual exploitation talk about factors that led to their victimization. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine women who have successfully exited the sex industry. Data were cataloged using NVivo and coded into themes and categories. The data revealed three main time frames of interest: childhood, entering the sex industry, and exiting the sex industry. Using constant comparative analysis, coding fell into the same three themes for each time period: what was happening, how participants responded, and what happened next. Using action-interaction, a conceptual summary was developed: Overwhelming Issues, Limited Resources, Hollow Solutions. This concept represents three distinct phases that the participants cycled through. They faced overwhelming situations and, presented with limited resources, found solutions that temporarily solved the problems that later became more crushing issues. The cycle was broken when increased resources offered more stable solutions. Implications for further research are discussed.



Social sciences, Psychology, Commercial sexual exploitation, Crimes against women, Grounded theory, Prostitution, Sex industry, Sex trafficking