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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Project: Campus only access

Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Dr. Rigaud Joseph, MSW, Ph.D., Faculty Supervisor, Social Work


Long dismissed as a third world issue, the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) has been a significant problem across the United States over the past two decades, causing major concerns for child welfare stakeholders. The literature has shown a broad range of adverse consequences associated with CSEC. These include—but are not limited to—malnutrition, severe trauma, physical and sexual assault, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancy, and medical neglect. The purpose of the study is to assess the readiness level of a large county in Southern California with regards to the well-being of children with a past or current record of victimization from commercial sexual exploitation. Embracing the Community Readiness Model, this case study aimed to evaluate (a) the county’s level of knowledge about programs and services to address CSEC, (b) the county leadership’s attitude toward addressing CSEC, (c) the county’s attitude toward addressing CSEC, (d) the county’s knowledge about CSEC, and (e) explore the county’s range of resources available to address CSEC. Results indicated that the county’s overall readiness score was 4.1 out of a possible 9. That is, the county had a low readiness level with respect to addressing the challenges associated with CSEC within its boundaries. Implications of the findings for theory, research, policy, and macro social work practice were discussed.

Keywords: commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), community readiness model