Providing a Continuum of Care for Commercially Sexually Exploited Children: Successes, Challenges, and Lessons Learned

Commercial Sexual Exploitation victims need a variety of services and individualized care.  Devereux Florida developed a treatment track for youth served in our programs, which includes inpatient residential care, foster care, and outpatient therapeutic services. Presenters will discuss the basis for developing the treatment track, how it is implemented in each level of programming, and what the challenges, successes, and lessons learned have been at each programmatic level. 


Outline/Structure of the Workshop

PowerPoint presentation

  • Basis for Treatment Track
    • Purpose of Treatment Track
    • Identification of Treatment Track to avoid stereotypes/labeling
    • Implementation of Treatment Track
  • Explanation of Programmatic Levels
    • Intensive Residential
    • Therapeutic Group Home
    • Foster Homes
    • Outpatient Therapeutic Services
  • Challenges at each Programmatic Level
  • Successes at each Programmatic Level
  • Lessons Learned at each Programmatic Level



Learning Outcome

  • Gather ideas on developing a model for treatment
  • Understand what challenges could be presented
  • Build on experience from another provider to develop a strong program

Target Audience

Current and potential treatment providers for Commercially Sexually Exploited Children

schedule Submitted 7 years ago

  • Charles Hounmenou

    Charles Hounmenou - Exploring Child Prostitution in a Major City in the West African Region

    60 Mins
    Original Research

    The study explored the characteristics of child prostitution in a major city in the West African region. A convenience sample of children in prostitution, specifically girls below age 18 (n = 243), were recruited in Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso. A survey instrument was used to explore various variables including profile of children in prostitution, factors of vulnerability to prostitution; prostitution practices, compensations and related issues in child prostitution. The findings show that most children in prostitution in the city were from two countries that do not share borders.  Most native respondents practiced prostitution for survival and to support their families. In contrast, all the respondents from Nigeria practiced prostitution as victims of international sex trafficking. A key finding was that the majority of the children in prostitution surveyed were educated. Among the respondents, there were similarities in the major life events that contributed to their situation of prostitution. These life events include early separation with parents, sexual abuse, foster care, and forced marriage. Implications for policy, practice and research are discussed.

  • Julie Atella

    Julie Atella - Lessons learned about serving sexually exploited youth - A discussion from different service provider perspectives

    60 Mins
    Poster Presentation

    Many different types of service providers are working to identify and serve youth who have been sexually exploited. In some states, including Minnesota, service providers from various sectors, including housing, victim-services, medical, and youth programming are working with youth.

    In order to learn how these different groups are coordinating their efforts, and where there are areas of improvement, we propose having a roundtable to discuss lessons learned.  

  • Kelly Kinnish

    Kelly Kinnish / Judith Cohen - Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: Trauma-Focused Treatment Strategies

    90 Mins

    The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) represents a particular challenge for mental health professionals across multiple services settings. Commercially Sexually  Exploited clients often have complex mental health needs and are at high risk for a broad range of adverse consequences and negative mental health outcomes.  Specifically, clients often have long histories of multiple traumatic experiences and high rates of PTSD, complex trauma, anxiety, depression, and substance use problems. Furthermore, they often present with significant engagement and retention challenges that can impede the progress of therapy.  In this workshop, presenters will describe Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and applications of this treatment with clients who have been commercially Sexually Exploited. The rationale for the use of TF-CBT with CSEC will be described, strategies for enhancing engagement with CSEC clients will be identified, and CSEC-specific applications of TF-CBT PRACTICE components will be described.   Presenters will also describe Project Intersect, a SAMHSA-funded project of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, and the strategies and applications of TF-CBT that have been utilized through this service grant. Therapist feedback, CSEC client reports of their experiences in TF-CBT treatment, and outcome data collected through the Project Intersect program evaluation, will be shared with workshop attendees to further reflect the benefits and challenges of the provision of trauma-focused treatment with CSEC-identified clients.