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Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, ac. Although research has examined the impacts of childhood maltreatment among various marginalized populations, few studies have explored the relationship between child abuse and subsequent involvement in sex work among drug using street-involved youth.
In the present study, the relationships between the level of childhood maltreatment and involvement in sex work were examined using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire CTQ as part of an extensive interview protocol in an ongoing prospective cohort study of street-involved youth in Vancouver Canada. Between September and June , youth were recruited using extensive outreach methods and snowball sampling. Univariate and logistic regression analyses demonstrated that not only was sexual abuse independently associated with sex work, but emotional abuse was as well.
These findings have implications for early intervention efforts aimed at vulnerable, high risk youth populations as well as intervention strategies for active sex trade workers. Recently, the United Nations released the findings of its first comprehensive, global study of violence against children Pinheiro, , in which governments worldwide participated.
The report states that although many forms of violence against children have long been noted, the magnitude of the problem is only just coming to light. Among the strongest findings is that although some violence in children's lives is unexpected and isolated, the vast majority is experienced at the hands of those closest to them, namely parents, caregivers, teachers, schoolmates, employers.
These findings are of concern given the well-known risks associated with sex work among drug-using populations, including high rates of violence and assault, homelessness, social isolation, and sexual and drug-related harms.