The Prevalence and Correlates of Labor and Sex Trafficking in a Community Sample of Youth Experiencing Homelessness in Metro-Atlanta

Authors: Eric R. Wright, Ana LaBoy, Kara Tsukerman, Nicholas Forge, Erin Ruel, Renee Shelby, Madison Higbee, Zoe Webb, Melanie Turner-Harper, Asantewaa Darkwa and Cody Wallace

Published in Social Sciences, January 2021


Research suggests that runaway and homeless youth (RHY) in the United States are vulnerable to sex and labor trafficking. In this paper, we report and analyze estimates of sex and labor trafficking collected as part of the Atlanta Youth Count 2018, a community-based field survey of RHY between the ages of 14 and 25 in the metro-Atlanta area. A total of 564 participants were recruited and completed a survey that included questions about their backgrounds as well as the Human Trafficking Screening Tool (HTST). We found that 39.9% experienced some form of trafficking while homeless. While 15.6% of the youth reported commercial sexual exploitation while homeless, coerced labor (29.3%) or fraud (25.2%) were even more common experiences. Women, transgender, and gender nonconforming youth, as well young people who had prior system involvement and those who had been homeless for more than a year were the most likely to report having been trafficked. The significance of these findings for research and policy on RHY and trafficking are discussed.

Strategic Redirection through Litigation: Forgoing the anti-trafficking framework to address labour abuses experienced by migrant sex workers

Authors: Clancey, A., & Mahon, F. (2020)

Strategic Redirection through Litigation: Forgoing the anti-trafficking framework to address labour abuses experienced by migrant sex workers

Anti-Trafficking Review, (15), 171-175.


Response to the ATR debate proposition ‘It is worth undermining the anti-trafficking cause in order to more directly challenge the systems producing everyday abuses within the global economy.’

Sex Workers Organising for Change: Self-representation, community mobilisation, and working conditions

Sex Workers Organising for Change: Self-representation, community mobilisation, and working conditions

Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women, 2018.


The report details the ways in which sex worker rights organisations are creatively responding to violence, exploitation and other abuses within the sex industry, including instances of human trafficking. The report is based on research conducted with sex worker organisations in seven countries: Canada, Mexico, Spain, South Africa, India, Thailand and New Zealand.

It highlights cases where sex workers, or sex worker organisations, resolved issue of exploitation and violence by working as a collective, providing advice to other organisations and leading negotiations with third parties. Beyond support for individual cases, this report also documents how sex worker rights organisations mobilise sex workers and their allies to resist stigma, discrimination and oppression, and to collectively voice their concerns, demand their rights, and participate in public and political life. It also covers the relationship between sex workers and sex worker rights organisations and the anti-trafficking movement. 

Ultimately, the report demonstrates that sex worker rights organisations are human rights organisations whose primary mandate is to ensure that the human, economic, social, political, and labour rights of the people they work with are recognised and respected by state and non-state actors. It includes country-level and global conclusions and recommendations for policy makers. 

Negotiating safety and sexual risk reduction with clients in unsanctioned safer indoor sex work environments: a qualitative study

Authors: Krüsi, Andrea, Jill Chettiar, Amelia Ridgway, Janice Abbott, Steffanie A. Strathdee, and Kate Shannon.

Negotiating Safety and Sexual Risk Reduction with Clients in Unsanctioned Safer Indoor Sex Work Environments: A Qualitative Study.

American Journal of Public Health 102 (6): 1154–59.


Objectives: We examined how unique, low-barrier, supportive housing programs for women who are functioning as unsanctioned indoor sex work environments in a Canadian urban setting influence risk negotiation with clients in sex work transactions.

Methods: We conducted 39 semistructured qualitative interviews and 6 focus groups with women who live in low-barrier, supportive housing for marginalized sex workers with substance use issues. All interviews were transcribed verbatim and thematically analyzed.

Results: Women’s accounts indicated that unsanctioned indoor sex work environments promoted increased control over negotiating sex work transactions, including the capacity to refuse unwanted services, negotiate condom use, and avoid violent perpetrators. Despite the lack of formal legal and policy support for indoor sex work venues in Canada, the environmental-structural supports afforded by these unsanctioned indoor sex work environments, including surveillance cameras and support from staff or police in removing violent clients, were linked to improved police relationships and facilitated the institution of informal peer-safety mechanisms.

Conclusions: This study has drawn attention to the potential role of safer indoor sex work environments as venues for public health and violence prevention interventions and has indicated the critical importance of removing the sociolegal barriers preventing the formal implementation of such programs.