Amber McDonald

The Underground Sex World and Vulnerable Youth: A Professional Social Worker’s Perspective

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“We really need to start addressing the root of some of these issues, which, unfortunately, lead young people to being involved in trading and selling sex, in order to effectively get them out.”

Amber McDonald

Human sex trafficking is the largest illegal trade in the world, and the issue has gain increased attention over the last several years. In this episode, Amber McDonald describes her research involving vulnerable minors’ involvement in sex trafficking and the reasons why youth engage in trading and selling sex. She summarizes current federal legislative initiatives targeting sex trafficking and discusses implications for social work practice.

Amber McDonald, LCSW, is a doctoral candidate at the University of Denver and is currently completing her dissertation, Fact vs. Fiction: Uncovering the experiences of homeless/street youths’ involvement in survival sex. She has conducted research in the areas of youth involvement in trading/selling sex, vicarious trauma, and childhood sexual abuse. Amber has an extensive practice background in forensic social work and child welfare. Specifically, Amber has expertise in forensic interviewing, trauma interventions/assessments (children and families), coordination and implementation of trauma-informed care initiatives, and program development. She also provides child sex trafficking prevention-related consultation for the United States Department of Health and Human Services, as well as other key private sector organizations (e.g., Facebook).

Interviewer: Caitlin Beck

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