Young People and Sexual Exploitation: ‘It’s Not Hidden, You Just Aren’t Looking’
Work with sexually exploited young people can be rewarding yet difficult. They can be hard to access, often presenting challenging behaviour. Sometimes it is painful to hear their life stories, whether these include abuse through the Internet or exploitation experienced through having been trafficked into and within the country. Jenny J. Pearce draws on young people’s voices to explore the difficulties that arise for researchers and for practitioners when working with sexually exploited young people. While child protection interventions must guide social work, she argues that other agencies such as health, education, housing and training each have a role to play in supporting a sexually exploited young person. Challenging the uncritical acceptance of the child as victim, the book suggests ‘therapeutic outreach’ as an approach to working with sexually exploited young people that can complement child protection procedures, support practitioners in the field and enhance the young person’s sense of autonomy and responsibility during their transition to adulthood. The book advocates the relationship between practitioners and the young people they aim to support to be one of the most important resources in practice. Young People and Sexual Exploitation will be essential reading for anyone interested in preventing the sexual exploitation of children and young people. It will be particularly relevant for academics, students, practitioners and policymakers in the fields of social policy and social work, child and family work, child protection and youth work.