Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Joan Reid, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael Lynch, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sandra Stone, Ph.D.


Boy Victims, Child Sexual Exploitation, Gender, Program Availability, Sex Trafficking, Victim Identification


While there has been a large body of research conducted on girl (under the age of 18) victims of commercial sexual exploitation, boy (under the age of 18) victims do not seem to receive the same attention. From the few studies that have been conducted, boys and young male victims of commercial sexual exploitation have been shown to have gender specific barriers that prevent them from getting help, yet not many papers explore this unique problem. Using survey data from key providers that work in programs that serve commercially sexually exploited boys, the present study fills this hole in the literature by providing information on these barriers that boys face. This study is exploratory in nature as not much is known about the scope and prevalence of these barriers. However, using theory from feminist criminology and masculinity theory, three specific barriers are proposed as being potentially influential. These proposed barriers are hegemonic masculinity, male victimization/rape myths, and homophobia. While these are the barriers that are expected to be the most prevalent in the survey responses, other barriers will be examined as well depending on the answers that programs provide. Additionally, this study aims to highlight the lack of programs available for boys and suggests that the same barriers that prevent boys from being identified as victims may also be to blame for the lack of programs for boys.