Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Smith, Laurie


This study used a survey to describe social workers’ most pertinent barriers to engaging Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) and sought to identify the most effective practices currently used to improve engagement with this population. The purpose of the research was to assess social worker’s knowledge, preparedness, training, and most effective approaches to improve engagement. Data was collected from thirty participants. Findings were that social workers’ knowledge was relatively high, despite the expressed need for more thorough training to engage and help the population. Social workers provided insight on what interventions and approaches have been most effective when engaging with the CSEC population to provide appropriate mental health services or resources such as trauma informed cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, the person centered approach, the strength based perspective, and being solution focused. Recommendations include increasing and improving training for social workers and other helping agencies the CSEC population come into contact with to better serve them.