Moynihan M, Mitchell K, Pitcher C, Havaei F, Ferguson M, Saewyc E. (2018). A systematic review of the state of the literature on sexually exploited boys internationally. Child Abuse & Neglect, 76, 440–451.

This systematic review assessed the current state of the literature on sexually exploited boys internationally. We aimed to describe what is known about sexual exploitation of boys, identify gaps in the literature, provide implications for practice, and make recommendations for future research. Multiple database searches were conducted using a combination of controlled vocabulary and keywords to capture child and adolescent sexual exploitation. Our search identified 11,099 unique references and excluded studies that did not include male participants less than 18 years old or disaggregate results by relevant age groups and/or by sex. This review identified 42 studies from 23 countries, providing evidence that sexual exploitation of boys is an issue in both high- and low-income countries. Seventeen articles had sexual exploitation as their primary variable of interest, the majority of which sampled boys who accessed services (i.e., shelters, health care, social, and justice services). Boys’ experiences of sexual exploitation varied in terms of venue, exploiters, and compensation. Compared to their non-sexually exploited peers, sexually exploited boys more commonly reported experiences of child abuse, substance use, conduct problems, and mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and self-harm. Despite increasing evidence that boys are sexually exploited around the world, the current literature provides limited data about the antecedents, sequelae, and the specific features of sexual exploitation experiences among boys. Further research is needed to inform, policy, social services and health care delivery specific to the needs of sexually exploited boys.


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