Youth Who Trade Sex in the U.S.

Intersectionality, Agency, and Vulnerability

Carisa R. Showden and Samantha Majic
Book Cover

PB: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1621-6
Publication: Jun 18

HC: $92.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1620-9
Publication: Jun 18

Ebook: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1622-3
Publication: Jun 18

244 pages
5.5 x 8.25
24 tables, 2 figs., 2 halftones

Examining the dominant, unitary "innocent girl–predatory man" policy narrative to improve research, policy, and community interventions for young people in the sex trades

Read the Introduction (pdf).


When cases of domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) by predatory men are reported in the media, it is often presented that a young, innocent girl has been abused by bad men with their demand for sex and profit. This narrative has shaped popular understandings of young people in the commercialized sex trades, sparking new policy responses. However, the authors of Youth Who Trade Sex in the U.S. challenge this dominant narrative as incomplete. Carisa Showden and Samantha Majic investigate young people’s engagement in the sex trades through an intersectional lens.

The authors examine the dominant policy narrative’s history and the political circumstances generating its emergence and current form. With this background, Showden and Majic review and analyze research published since 2000 about young people who trade sex to develop an intersectional “matrix of agency and vulnerability” designed to improve research, policy, and community interventions that center the needs of these young people. Ultimately, they derive an understanding of the complex reality for most young people who sell or trade sex, and are committed to ending such exploitation.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking and the Innocent Girl–Predatory Man Narrative
1. The Making of a Narrative
2. Research on Young People Who Trade Sex: A Comprehensive Narrative Analysis Co-authored with David Allan Jun-Rong Ting
3. Beyond the “Young, Innocent Girl”: The Complex Narrative of the “Knowing, Needy Adolescent”
4. Applying the Matrix of Agency and Vulnerability

Appendix 1. Additional Information on the 128 Studies Reviewed in Chapter 2
Appendix 2. The 128 Empirical Studies Included in the Comprehensive Narrative Analysis

About the Author(s)

Carisa R. Showden is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences and Discipline Convenor for Gender Studies at the University of Auckland. She is the author of Choices Women Make: Agency in Domestic Violence, Assisted Reproduction, and Sex Work and the co-editor (with Samantha Majic) of Negotiating Sex Work: Unintended Consequences of Policy and Activism.

Samantha Majic is an Associate Professor of Political Science at John Jay College at the City University of New York. She is the author of Sex Work Politics: From Protest to Service Provision and the co-editor (with Carisa Showden) of Negotiating Sex Work: Unintended Consequences of Policy and Activism.