After examining the successes of a unique mixed-gender shelter program for commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC) in Italy, researchers from Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) and Associazione Mimosa say such shelters warrant further exploration.
In a recent paper in the Journal of Social Service Research, the research group, which includes Dr. Emily Rothman, associate professor of community health sciences at BUSPH, cited the shelter as an innovative model of services for CSEC victims that relies on “a flexible, loose approach to regulating youth,” and found that the majority of youths “respond well to that type of flexibility.”
“Youth are not heavily monitored by program staff, and friendly, mutually respectful relationships between program volunteers, staff, and youth clients are established,” the review says. “There have been several youths who have graduated from this organization and moved on to become employed, married with stability, and self-reliant. There have been other youth who were unable to be ‘rescued’ by this program.
“Identifying and providing ideal aftercare services to CSEC survivors remains a work in progress, and program evaluation is urgently needed,” the review urges.
To read more about the study, go to:BU, Community Health, Health Policy and Management, Maternal and Child Health