Community Resources

The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children In the US, Canada + Mexico

University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work, Center for the Study of Youth Policy


Patterns in the commercialization of sex, whether it is in the form of formal monetary exchanges or informal exchanges of goods and services, ratchet up the abusiveness of the relationship between the child and the trafficker and/or customer. The commercial nature of the relationships pile all the forces of economic interaction (value, profitability, return on investment, payment and pay back) on top of the physical and psychological coercion, duress, and deception that already permeate the sexually abusive relationship. In short, commercialization creates a dense layer of interpersonal enthrallment that is extremely difficult to battle against on behalf of child protection.