The study had two primary goals. The first was to provide a reliable and ethnographically rich description of the local commercial sexually exploited children (CSEC) population, including its size, characteristics, experiences, and service needs. The second was to evaluate the local demonstration project, documenting its major initiatives, achievements, and obstacles. In achiving these goals, the study also sought to identify lessons for other jurisdictions interested in replicating efforts like those in New York City.
Three distinct forms of data were collected in the project: statistical and coded data in the form of a questionnaire, narrative and quantitative data in the form of open ended questions whose answers were transcribed, and network data derived from the sampling chains themselves and the "special seed" data used to provide information of network cycle length and tree overlaps not normally available in RDS methods.
The project used Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS) to identify a representative sample of commercial sexually exploited children (CSEC) in New York City. Dataset 1 (CSEC Interview data) includes data collected from 230 youths between January 2006 and December 2007. When a potential research subject contacted the project by telephone, the research team completed a brief initial eligibility assessment (questions on age and CSEC involvement) and set a time and place for the interview to be completed. Respondents were paid twenty dollars (cash or gift certificate) for completing the interview, and researchers were trained to provide the respondents with an opportunity to seek or get help. Respondents who completed the interview process were given 'coupons' to distribute to others they knew who meet the research criteria to help with further recruitment.
Semi-structured stakeholder interviews were conducted twice: at the beginning of the evaluation period and one year later. The main purposes were to gain a better understanding of the history and nature of Coalition Against the Sexual Exploitation of Children (CASEC) and to obtain stakeholder perceptions of the project's strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, and challenges (The semi-structured Stakeholder interviews are not available as part of this data collection). At both the initial and follow-up interviews, quantitative surveys regarding the frequency and quality of cross-stakeholder communication (Dataset 2, Stakeholder Communication and Satisfaction Data, n=16) were administered.
For the purpose of trend analysis of CSEC related offense, research staff obtained citywide arrest and prosecution data on child prostitution, exploitation, and solicitation of a minor. For defendants ages 16 and older, the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) provide the researchers with comprehensive arrest, disposition and sentencing data for all five New York City boroughs from January 1, 1982 - December 31, 2006 (Dataset 3 CSEC Explotation and Solicitation Case Data, n = 2212 and Dataset 4 CSEC Child Prostitution Case Data, n = 6928). The New York City Criminal Justice Agency (CJA) provided arrest data for arrestees under 19 years of age in all five boroughs of New York City from January 1, 1998 through December 31, 2006 (Dataset 5 CSEC Exploitation, Solicitation, and Child Prostitution Arrests Data, n = 15,322). For juveniles processed in family court (ages 15 and younger), prosecution data was obtained from the New York State Unified Court System for 2004 through 2006 (Dataset 6 CSEC Child Prostitution and Related Family Court Cases Data, n = 146).
Dataset 1 (CSEC Interview Data, n=230) used Respondent Driven Sampling. Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS) is a methodology that is used to recruit statistically representative samples of hard-to-reach groups by taking advantage of intragroup social connections to build a sample pool. A small number of initial research subjects, called 'seeds' were referred, interviewed by the researchers, and paid for their time and effort (twenty dollars). Following their interviews, the seeds were given three sequentially numbered coupons and instructed to pass them along to friends or associates who are like themselves (juveniles who currently participate in CSEC markets). If referral chains were not developed as expected, additional seeds could have been referred as replacements. The numbers on the coupons allowed the researchers to prevent duplication, identified who referred each participant and keep track of subsequent recruitment patterns. When coupons were redeemed by eligible research subjects, their referrer was compensated (ten dollars) for each coupon redeemed. The eligible subjects referred by the seeds comprised the first wave of the sample and they were each given three coupons to refer the new wave of study participants. A total of 329 participants were recruited using this method, though later 80 participants were excluded from the sample because they did not meet all of the sampling criteria (namely age, and participation in CSEC markets).
Stakeholder interviews (Dataset 2 Stakeholder Communication and Satisfaction Data, n=16) were conducted with representative from key local, city, and federal agencies that were involved in addressing prosecution or service provision issues.
Sampling for Datasets 3 through 6 is not applicable.
Cross-sectional ad-hoc follow-up
The universe for Dataset 1 (CSEC Interview Data) includes all CSEC child prostitution victims in New York City between January 2006 and December 2007.
The universe for Dataset 2 (Stakeholder Communication and Satisfaction Data)includes all CSEC stakeholders in New York City who participated in the Coalition Against the Sexual Exploitation of Children (CASEC) in 2006 and 2007.
The universe for Dataset 3 (CSEC Exploitation and Solicitation Cases Data) Dataset 4 (CSEC Child Prostitution Cases Data), Dataset 5 (CSEC Exploitation, Solicitation, and Child Prostitution Arrests Data) and Dataset 6 (CSEC Child Prostitution and Related Family Court Cases Data) includes all persons arrested for child prostitution, sexual exploitation of children, and solicitation of prostitution from a minor between 1982 and 2006.
The data for Dataset 3 (CSEC Exploitation and Solicitation Case Data)and Dataset 4 (CSEC Child Prostitution Cases Data) were collected from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.
The data for Dataset 5 (CSEC Exploitation, Solicitation, and Child Prostitution Arrests Data) were collected from the New York City Criminal Justice Agency.
The data for Dataset 6 (CSEC Child Prostitution and Related Family Court Cases Data) from the New York State Unified Court System, Universal Case Management System.
administrative records data
Dataset 1 (CSEC Interview Data, n=230) includes 416 variables covering the following domains:
- demographic characteristics including age, race/ethnicity, and living situation,
- market involvement including age and means of initiation, location of work, and type of involvement,
- network size and characteristics including information about pimps and customers,
- health and social services history and needs,
- experience with law enforcement and court,
- and future expectations.
Dataset 2 (Stakeholder Communication and Satisfaction Data, n=16) includes 60 variables on the frequency and satisfaction of communication with other Coalition Against the Sexual Exploitation of Children (CASEC)stakeholders.
Dataset 3 (CSEC Exploitation and Solicitation Case Data, 278 variables, n=2,212)and Dataset 4 (CSEC Child Prostitution Cases Data, 254 variables, n=6,928)provide comprehensive arrest, disposition, and sentencing data for defendants ages 16 and older. Variables include offender demographics (age, sex, and race), arrest and conviction indicators for firearms, drugs, weapons, and child victims, charge information, charge level, disposition information, and prior arrest and conviction information.
Dataset 5 (CSEC Exploitation, Solicitation, and Child Prostitution Arrests Data, 21 variables, n=15,322)includes offender demographic information (age, sex, and race), charge description, severity of charge, type of CSEC charge, prostitution charge type and severity, and exploitation charge type.
Dataset 6 (CSEC Child Prostitution and Related Family Court Cases Data, 65 variables, n=146) includes prosecution data for juveniles ages 15 and younger. Variables include offender demographic information (race, gender, month and year of birth), arrest charges and severity, disposition information, and the number of cases for the CSEC youth.
Due to the nature of the sampling method used by this research project, a response rate is not applicable.