Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2021

Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Shannon Self-Brown

Second Advisor

Jyll Walsh

Third Advisor

Naeshia McDowell

Abstract

The commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is a heinous and illegal act against children that negatively impacts youth across the world. It robs them of their innocence and increases their risk for psychological, developmental, and physical issues later in life. CSEC is a significant issue in the State of Georgia. Georgia has been identified as having one of the highest CSEC rates and economies in the United States. Many risk factors put youth at risk for commercial sexual exploitation. Child and family support agencies, law enforcement, schools, and the general public must be aware of them to combat CSEC. This paper aimed to create a comprehensive document to help those who work closely with children and families understand CSEC's complexities and address it in Georgia. This capstone paper provides an overview of what CSEC is, the prevalence of the issue, pathways to CSEC, recruiting tactics, information on Georgia’s new CSEC response team, responses from professionals within the field, and policy recommendations for next steps as the state moves forward in addressing this issue.

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