Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Joseph, Rigaud


The commercial and sexual exploitation of children has become a global multi-billion dollar industry over the past several decades. Throughout history, therapists from various backgrounds have not only advocated against child trafficking but also provided therapeutic services to victims of such an inhuman crime—most of whom are female adolescents. Compared to their female counterparts, male therapists have been assigned CSEC cases involving female clients in excessively lower ratios. Researchers, however, have not fully captured what has prevented the female CSEC population from drawing interests from male counselors. This study explored potential reluctance in male therapists with regard to working with female CSEC clients. Under the qualitative research paradigm, semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight male therapists in Southern California. Results from the thematic analysis of the interview data demonstrated that male counselors are reluctant to work on a one-on-one basis with female CSEC clients due to (1) fear of sexual accusations and (2) lack of training. However, results also revealed that support from female colleagues can help dissipate the heavy clouds of fear associated with sexual allegations. Implications for social work and human service agencies were discussed.

Keywords: male counselor, commercially and sexually exploited children, social work, colleague support.

Included in

Social Work Commons