Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Homelessness: A Critical Examination of the Association between Specific ACEs and Sex Trafficking among Homeless Youth in Kentuckiana

Jennifer Middleton, Emily Edwards, Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, Eleanor Inman, Laura M. Frey, Maurice N. Gattis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Youth experiencing homelessness have often also been exposed to childhood trauma or adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Aims: More information is needed to determine the prevalence and impact of ACEs in youth experiencing homelessness who have also been trafficked for sex with the goal of developing services informed by this knowledge. The present study examines ACEs and sex trafficking in a convenience sample of 119 youths experiencing homelessness aged 12 to 25 years old in Kentuckiana—a region of counties within metropolitan Louisville, Kentucky, and Southern Indiana. Participants were asked questions regarding the 10 categories of ACEs as part of an enhanced version of the 60-item Youth Experiences Survey (YES). One hundred percent of the sample reported experiencing at least one ACE. Over two-thirds (69%) reported experiencing four or more ACEs. Approximately 52% of youth who had not been trafficked had experienced five or more ACEs, compared with 70% of trafficked youth. The ACEs most significantly related to sex trafficking were physical neglect, emotional neglect, emotional abuse, domestic abuse, and sexual abuse. Reports of sex trafficking and a higher number of ACEs from this sample of youth were found to be importantly correlated. Programs serving youth experiencing homelessness should require additional training and resources regarding the identification, screening, and assessment of youth who are at risk of or who have experienced sex trafficking in order to more accurately connect youth with trauma-informed services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Human Trafficking
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • adverse childhood experiences
  • Homelessness
  • human trafficking
  • sex trafficking
  • trauma
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Anthropology
  • Transportation
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Homelessness: A Critical Examination of the Association between Specific ACEs and Sex Trafficking among Homeless Youth in Kentuckiana'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this