A concept analysis of trauma coercive bonding in the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Academic Article


  • Background: The sex trafficking of adolescents is known as commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). CSEC is a complex phenomenon where identification requires understanding of developmental disruptions from toxic bonding experiences that increase in complexity over time. These toxic bonding experiences forced through coercive methods disrupt the holistic development of a self in the CSEC victim that interferes with daily functions, decision-making and social and emotional development. Lacking in the literature is a conceptual foundation for trauma coerced bonding. Purpose: The purpose of the analysis is to define and clarify the future concept of trauma coerced bonding from trauma bonding as it relates to CSEC victimization. Methods: The concept analysis used Rodgers’ evolutionary method to search four databases (PubMed, CINHAL, Scopus, and Google Scholar [for grey literature]), using terms associated with various descriptions of trauma bonding (for instance, Stockholm syndrome), resulting in twenty papers for review. Results: Attributes, antecedents, and consequences of trauma bonding were delineated and explained. It became apparent through this analysis that the concept of trauma bonding of adolescents exposed to CSEC is very different from other forms of trauma bonding, leading this author to a more precise term, trauma-coercive bonding. Trauma coercive bonding is a long process that is a developmentally disruptive form of bonding that has ramifications throughout the life span. Discussion: Trauma coercive bonding is influenced by more than just an emotional bond. The proposed definition of trauma coercive bonding brings an in-depth description of vulnerabilities and disruptions to childhood when CSEC, which persists long into adulthood. Conclusion: Future qualitative research should pursue a grounded theory of trauma coercive bonding to further explain and study this phenomenon.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Sanchez RV; Speck PM; Patrician PA
  • Start Page

  • 48
  • End Page

  • 54
  • Volume

  • 46