Setting the Standard: Meeting the Needs of Sex Trafficked Black Girls in the State of California

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The sex trafficking industry has become glamorized in recent years, with films like the movie Taken (2008) shaping America's perception of the industry. The film portrays an upper-middle class White teenage girl's abduction by a sex trafficking ring during a trip to Paris. Films like these do not accurately depict the everyday experiences of trafficking victims and do not properly highlight how poverty, racism, and emotional abuse are oftentimes the leading factors that make girls vulnerable to sex trafficking. Due to systemic racism, intersecting layers of oppression, and cultural bias, Black girls are disproportionately affected by domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) in the United States.

In this thesis, I will examine California’s service provision for victims of domestic minor sex trafficking. I seek to answer the question: How can California best meet the service provision needs of Black girls affected by DMST? My thesis utilizes scholarly literature to inform a framework for understanding the needs of trafficked Black girls. Using insights from scholarly literature and drawing original qualitative data from interviews with experts working in the DMST space, I explore the ways in which California can best meet Black girl’s service provision needs. Both my literature review and expert interviews grounded my policy recommendation aimed at promoting stronger service provision for Black girls.





Battle, Gabrielle (2023). Setting the Standard: Meeting the Needs of Sex Trafficked Black Girls in the State of California. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.