How Israeli social workers perceive adolescent girls in prostitution

Einat Peled, Reut Lugasi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The phenomenon of girls in prostitution poses great challenges to professionals who work with adolescent girls at risk and in distress. Prostitution is socially stigmatized and seen as something shameful. However, current theory and research show adolescent girls in prostitution to be victims of violence, exploitation and trauma. This naturalistic qualitative study examined the views of 15 social workers at six Adolescent Girls Treatment Units in Israel on prostitution and on adolescent girls in prostitution. Data was collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews. The participants struggled to link the term "prostitution" with the adolescent girls in their care. The findings explore the source this perceived conflict, and its manifestation in the participants' professional intervention with the girls. The discussion examines the participants' professional discourse about adolescent girls in prostitution, and offers explanations for their difficulty in associating the adolescent girls in their care with prostitution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-29
Number of pages10
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • Adolescent girls in prostitution
  • Commercial sexual exploitation of adolescent girls
  • Perceptions of prostitution
  • Social work with adolescent girls


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