The benefits of economic globalization,
internationalization, and free trade have brought with them an
unanticipated set of social problems. Among them is what appears to be
a dramatic rise worldwide in the incidence of child
exploitation. Among the most virulent forms of this exploitation is
child sexual exploitation (CSE), including the commercial sexual
exploitation of children (CSEC). The extent of these problems in the
United States has been unknown, although most experts dealing with
CSEC regard it to be a serious problem in North America. This project
undertook the systematic collection of first-generation data
concerning the nature, extent, and seriousness of child sexual
exploitation in the United States. The project was organized around
the following research objectives: (1) identification of the nature,
extent, and underlying causes of CSE and CSEC occurring in the United
States, (2) identification of those subgroups of children that were at
the greatest risk of being sexually exploited, (3) identification of
subgroups of adult perpetrators of sex crimes against children, and
(4) identification of the modes of operation and other methods used by
organized criminal units to recruit children into sexually
This study involved surveying senior staff members
of nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and government organizations
(GOs) in the United States known to be dealing with persons involved
in the transnational trafficking of children for sexual purposes.
Part 1 consists of survey data from nongovernment organizations.
These were local child and family agencies serving runaway and
homeless youth. Part 2 consists of survey data from government
organizations. These organizations were divided into local, state, and
federal agencies. Local organizations included municipal law
enforcement, county law enforcement, prosecutors, public defenders,
and corrections. State organizations included state child welfare
directors, prosecutors, and public defenders. Federal organizations
included the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Public
Defenders, Immigration and Naturalization Service, United States
Attorneys, United States Customs, and the United States Postal
Service. Surveys were originally mailed to the
organizations. Researchers used additional mailings, telephone calls,
and faxes to encourage responsiveness.
Stratified random sampling.
Government and nongovernment agencies in the United States
that dealt with persons involved in the transnational trafficking of
children for sexual purposes.
Variables in Parts 1 and 2 include the
organization's city, state, and ZIP code, the type of services
provided or type of law enforcement agency, how the agency was funded,
the scope of the agency's service area, how much emphasis was placed
on CSEC as a policy issue or a service issue, conditions that might
influence the number of CSEC cases, how staff were trained to deal
with CSEC cases, how victims were identified, the number of children
that experienced child abuse, sexual abuse, pornography, or other
exploitation in 1999 and 2000 by age and gender, methods of
recruitment, family history of victims, gang involvement, and
substance abuse history of victims.
The response rate for Part 1 (nongovernmental
organizations) was 22 percent. The response rate for Part 2
(governmental organizations) was 24 percent.
Several Likert-type scales were used.