Women involved in sex work face a unique set of life circumstances that both influence their decision to enter the industry and affect them throughout their profession. These individuals have higher rates of childhood physical and sexual abuse, as well as neglect and other forms of maltreatment. As sex workers, these individuals exist within a violent culture that is also rife with physical and sexual trauma. Because of the increase rates of violence that these women face, they are at a greater risk for posttraumatic stress disorder, dissociative disorders, substance abuse, and depression. This study reviews some of the literature to-date on the prevalence of both childhood and adult maltreatment in this study, and examines some of the trauma sequelae frequently seen in this population. Treatment implications and future directions for research are considered.
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