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Abstract

Exiting commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) is a difficult and prolonged process. This study examines the predictors of readiness to exit CSE, using the stages of change model as an underlying framework, among women in India (n=163) and the U.S. (n=87). Constructs such as years of schooling, residence, unemployment, age of entry, causes of entry, types of exploitation, addictions, presence of perpetrator, culture – individualistic and collectivistic, stigma, social support, empowerment, and current involvement in CSE were assessed. Results of a multi-group analysis indicated significant differences in the relationships between readiness to change and the predictor measures. For the Indian sample, years of schooling, economic conditions/abuse/runaway behavior as reasons for entry, individualistic and collectivistic culture approaches, and stigma were associated with readiness to change. For the U.S. sample, living by oneself, abuse/runaway behavior as reasons for entry, indoor experiences of exploitation, substance abuse problems, collectivist cultural approach, social support, and current involvement in CSE were associated with readiness to change. However, some similarities were also found. The findings suggest that service provision must focus on addressing the constructs that increase the readiness to exit, while also being culturally competent.

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