DSG Study on Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

The commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) of children is a serious threat to the safety and well-being of many vulnerable youth in the United States. In 2013, as requested by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council released a study on CSE and sex trafficking of minors. The report referenced model legislation known as “safe harbor laws.”

This study is designed to address major objectives that will help in understanding the effectiveness of safe harbor laws. The goal is to assess the impact of safe harbor laws on two objectives in particular: ending the arrest of minors for prostitution and increasing services provided to CSE youth.


Safe harbor laws represent a shift in the way juveniles caught engaging in acts of prostitution are treated. The laws recognize youths involved in prostitution as victims of CSE and sex trafficking and attempt to divert them away from the juvenile justice system to agencies that may be better equipped to address their specific needs. Twelve states have enacted safe harbor laws, but little is known about their effectiveness.


If you have been a victim of sexual exploitation and are in need of services, please visit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children or call the Child Sexual Exploitation Hotline at 1-800-843-5678.

For More Information About the Safe Harbor Study

Contact DSG Senior Research Scientist Stephen Gies at 301.951.0056 or sgies@dsgonline.com