Barriers for Women with Sex Trafficking Histories and The Limitations of Safe Harbor Laws

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Kathryn Roth Anjanette Wells


By Kathryn Roth, Social Work

Advisor: Anjanette Wells

Presentation ID: AM_A46

Abstract: There are distinct barriers limiting women with histories of sex trafficking to attain higher education, sufficient housing, and employment having to do with their charges, whether they be misdemeanor or felony and despite Safe Harbor Act laws, victims of trafficking continue to be incarcerated and face these barriers. Sex trafficking has lasting effects on the individual, their families and our communities. Cincinnati, Ohio is no exception; communities everywhere in our country are being affected by this epidemic. Human sex trafficking is recognized as a growing global concern. Safe Harbor Laws have been put into place to help protect women who want to turn their lives around after being sex trafficked. This research is relevant to Social Work because it will give insight to treatment methods and encourage discussion for more legal protections to be put in place for women at risk in the communities in the Greater Cincinnati region. The purpose of this descriptive qualitative study is to understand the population at Off the Streets and to grasp the scope of barriers that victims of sex trafficking face in Cincinnati. The interview findings suggest that there is a gap between the knowledge and the current protective laws that are put in place to help women. The results of this study illustrate why women need a chance to expunge their criminal history during the time while they were victims of sex trafficking in order to open the door for them to reach their ultimate goals of housing, employment, or higher education.

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AM Poster Session -- Great Hall -- A: Social Justice & Social Well-Being