Gateways to human sex trafficking in the Central Valley
The purpose of this research study was to identify gateways to human sex trafficking in the Central Valley of California. The three areas studied were the background of the survivors, the events that took place prior to and during the survivor becoming involved with sex trafficking and the relationship formed between the survivor and volunteer, that was established at an undisclosed organization in the Central Valley. The study is exploratory and qualitative in nature. The researcher used three sources of instrumentation to gather data including, 3 survivor interviews, 15 volunteer interviews and an analysis of 31 survivor case files. All data was analyzed using Neuman’s 5-part plan. The study found that gateways to sex trafficking in the Central Valley involve family dynamics of the survivor, specifically parental influence. Two forms of sex trafficking are occurring in the Central Valley, teenagers and young adults who are lured in and children as young as the age of five put into trafficking. Traffickers varied from age 15 to 30 and many were involved with drugs, gangs, and violence, while others were business and family men. More organizations need to be established in the Central Valley where social workers, law enforcement and volunteers all work together to fight against sex trafficking. Due to the association of survivors in the system, social workers in Child Protective Services and law enforcement in the Juvenile Justice System should continue be trained in awareness, prevention, and how to work with survivors of sex trafficking.