After attending a nursing conference on the commercial sexual exploitation of children, Dawn Bounds began researching the underground world of commercial sex trafficking.
That work led to a published article and doctoral thesis, which offers new information on sex trafficking issues, according to Bounds’ adviser.
An assistant professor at Rush University College of Nursing, Chicago, Bounds said she learned how men prey on vulnerable females to lure them into sex acts, according to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, which was provided by Rush University.
Sex trafficking refers to someone using force, fraud or coercion to cause a commercial sex act with an adult or cause a minor to commit a commercial sex act, according to the article.
For her doctoral studies research, Bounds, PhD, PMHNP-BC, who has worked in psychiatry and mental health with young girls, analyzed 1,300 posts on a website where men shared commercial sex stories. She found some disturbing themes. “It has been suggested in the past that men who buy sex may not know that they are buying sex from vulnerable girls and women,” Bounds said in the Tribune article written by Lyndsey Malcus.
“My research findings, however, suggest that they do know and use the vulnerability of girls and women to exploit them for (the men’s) own personal gain,” Bounds said in the article.
The U.S. has the second largest sex trafficking market in the world, according to “Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and State Child Welfare Systems,” an article Bounds co-wrote for publication in Policy, Politics & Nursing Practice.
That article, along with Bounds’ doctoral thesis, “The Complexities of the Demand Side of the Online Commercial Sex Industry,” offer important information on the inner workings of sex trafficking, according to Wrenetha Julion, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, Bounds’ academic adviser. In the Tribune article, Julion called her research “novel and innovative.”
“Dawn’s work has the potential to save lives and make a sustained impact,” Julion said.
According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, 3,646 cases of human trafficking were reported in 2016; of that, 73% (2,678) involved sex trafficking. The website stated these statistics involve reports only and don’t reflect the unreported incidences.
United Nations data show human trafficking generates an estimated $150 billion annually in illegal profits and that it has become one of the fastest growing criminal industries worldwide.
Bounds plans to work with the Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre, in British Columbia, Canada, and The Runaway Intervention Program in the U.S., which help at-risk youths, by analyzing their data and working to implement a runaway intervention program in Chicago, according to the article.
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