Community & Society / Experts / Health & Medicine

Expert Available: Protecting Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking in the U.S.

It’s one of the worst crimes imaginable, with potential lifelong physical, social and psychological harm to its victims: The commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of children, in the form of coerced child prostitution and similar abuses. It’s still all too common in the United States and abroad.

Victims of this abuse are everywhere, and yet people around them – teachers, nurses and doctors and others who interact with children – may not recognize the signs or know what to do about it.

This afternoon, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences released a report summarizing studies of these crimes as they affect minors in the United States, and making recommendations about how to respond through legislation, continued research and by addressing unmet service needs to help victims.

Dr. John Rich, a professor and chair of the department of Health Management and Policy and interim dean of the Drexel University School of Public Health, was a member of the committee that authored the report.

Dr. Donna Sabella, an assistant clinical professor and director of global studies in Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions, is a mental health nurse whose career has largely focused on helping victims of human trafficking and on training nurses to know the signs and help victims in their practice.

In response to the new IOM-NRC report on child sexual commercialization, Sabella noted that domestic minor sex trafficking is on the rise both here and abroad, yet few resources are available to support child victims. She said, “We need to expend more effort and energy in supporting children before they become vulnerable and to be able to intervene much earlier than we do now.”

Sabella is available to comment to news media via phone or email about this issue. Members of the news media interested in contacting her may email donna.sabella@drexel.edu and/or contact Rachel Ewing in the Office of University Communications (raewing@drexel.edu or 215-895-2614).

For more about Sabella and the role of nurses in addressing human trafficking:

For more about the IOM-NRC report:

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