UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Challenging the Stereotypes: Unexpected Features of Sexual Exploitation among Homeless and Street-Involved Boys in Western Canada Smith, Annie; Saewyc, Elizabeth Marie; Shankar, Sneha; Pearce, Lindsay


Research about the sexual exploitation of homeless and street-involved boys is limited and often combined with that of girls. As aggregation can distort unique issues among genders which are exploited, this study provides information about the context of exploitation for homeless boys. Boys participated in the anonymous, multi-city British Columbia (BC), Canada Homeless and Street-Involved Youth Health paper surveys of 2006 and 2014. Measures included questions about trading sex for money, shelter, or other consideration; age first exploited; for whom; where they were living when first traded sex; gender of exploiters; and demographics. Analyses, separately for younger/older boys, explored the prevalence, timing of exploitation vs. homelessness, and ANOVAs to evaluate the patterns of the age of first exploitation by the genders of exploiters. Just over one in four boys reported exploitation (n = 132), with a median age of 14–15 in most groups. Most were runaway or homeless before their first exploitation, but 25.5% (2006) and 41% (2014) were living with family. Most boys were exploited by women (78%–85%), with 62%–65% were exclusively exploited by women.

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