Domestic Sex Trafficking and Prostitution: Implications of Stigmatization
Date of Award
Graduate School of Professional Psychology
Judith Fox, Ph.D.
Second Committee Member
Kimberly Gorgens, Ph.D., ABPP
Third Committee Member
Diane Guerra, Psy.D.
Sex trafficking, Prostitution, Stigma theory
This article explores how the judgments and biases of therapists who work with prostitutes and domestic sex trafficking victims may negatively affect the therapeutic relationship in important ways. To accomplish this, this article reviews the history and development of the legal definitions of prostitution and sex trafficking while outlining some issues that confound the research. It reviews literature from feminist theory and criminology which has informed legislation and interventions. It summarizes current law enforcement training guidelines, American Bar Association guidelines, and recommendations outlined by the American Psychological Association Task Force on Trafficking of Women and Girls. Stigma theory is briefly described and then applied to all women engaged in commercial sex acts. It provides a new conceptual understanding of prostitution and sex trafficking by incorporating the ways in which stigma dynamics may impact the perceptions and experiences of the psychological and legal professionals as well as their clients. Implications for increasing the effectiveness of psychological interventions with these populations are suggested. Considerations for other professional groups working with these populations are provided.
Nielsen, Rachel K., "Domestic Sex Trafficking and Prostitution: Implications of Stigmatization" (2018). Doctoral Papers and Masters Projects. 291.