CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Henderson et al. on Identifying Reluctance in Commercially Sexually Exploited Adolescents

Hayden HendersonScarlet ChoAgnieszka Nogalska and Thomas D. Lyon (USC Gould School of Law, USC Gould School of Law, Students, University of Southern California and University of Southern California Gould School of Law) have posted Identifying Novel Forms of Reluctance in Commercially Sexually Exploited Adolescents (Forthcoming, Child Abuse & Neglect) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Research has largely overlooked expressions of reluctance in commercially sexually exploited adolescent (“CSEA”) victims. This is problematic because gaining information from known victims is of the utmost importance in order to better serve the needs of current and potential future victims. The current study proposes a novel conceptualization of reluctance based on CSEA victims’ transcripts from police interviews and courtroom examinations. The study examined police interviews (n = 8 victims, 1558 utterances) and courtroom transcripts (n = 6 victims, 1961 utterances) conducted with female CSE adolescent victims aged 15-17 years old (Mage = 16.29). The victims were associated with the same trafficker and were thus interviewed by the same police officers, and for those who testified, were questioned by the same lawyers in court. Sixteen reluctance tactics were identified, including several that have been overlooked in previous literature.
The current reluctance measure identified more reluctance than previous studies’ reluctance measures. Reluctance was much more common in police interviews (26.4%; p < .001) than in court (5.5%), and if victims were more reluctant in the police interviews, they were less likely to appear in court (p = .001).

These findings have implications for future conceptualizations of reluctance, and illustrate the importance of considering the age of the victim and the circumstances under which the victim is questioned in identifying reluctance.

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