The study's purpose was to provide an evidence-based foundation for the development of suitable policies and interventions for adults in the sex trade.
Also gained were the perspectives and policy recommendations of twenty-eight criminal justice policymakers, practitioners, and community representatives affiliated with New York City's Human Trafficking Intervention Courts (HTICs).
Finally, the principal investigators sought to produce policy and practice recommendations drawn directly from those with direct, lived experience of the sex trade (interviewed in the first part of the study) or from stakeholders involved in planning or implementing the HTICs (interviewed in the second part).
The researchers interviewed 316 adults (18 years of age and older) who traded sex for money, housing, food, drugs, their own or others' safety, or other things they needed. Of these, 304 had traded in the last year.
Interviews ranged from fourty-five minutes to two and a half hours and were semi-structured with closed- and open-ended questions on a wide range of topics. These included: demographics and identity, current and past housing, family history, immigration experience (if applicable), current and past involvement in the sex trade, safety, interactions with the police, court experiences (if applicable), health needs, and policy recommendations. Interviews were digitally recorded upon consent of participants. Those with more than 15 minutes of rich data were transcribed verbatim; rich, explanatory sections of non-transcribed interviews were typed up by the interviewer immediately post-interview.
Respondent-driven sampling (RDS) was used to identify and recruit people into the study. RDS started with "seed" interviews, participants who were recruited through one of the following methods:
- Street Outreach: Flyers were distributed at or posted on known "tracks" or "strolls" in multiple boroughs of New York City. Researchers also went to these locations to do in-person outreach to those trading.
- Internet Outreach: Information about the study was emailed to a sex workers listserv, repeatedly posted on numerous websites commonly used to advertise sexual services, and posted on a Tumblr site popular with adults in the sex trade.
- Outreach at Community Organizations: Members of the research team posted flyers on community boards or in waiting areas of select local community organizations that work with people who may be involved in the sex trade. At other organizations, the study was presented to program participants during group meetings.
- New York City adults (18 years of age and older) who exchange sex for money or other things they need.
- Criminal justice policymakers, practitioners, and community representatives affiliated with New York City's Human Trafficking Intervention Courts (HTICs).
Final-Quantitative-Data-resubmission.sav (cases=304; 218 variables): this file includes data derived from individuals involved in the sex trade in New York City. Variables include information concerning individual's identity, family history, immigration experience, current and past involvement in the sex trade, safety, interactions with the police, court experiences, health needs, drug and alcohol use, and policy recommendations.
Demographic variables include gender, age, race, ethnicity, education level, citizenship status, current housing, family size, sexual orientation, and respondent's place of birth.