AbstractsSocial Work

Perspectives of service professionals on the contributing factors to sex trafficking and on the service utilization patterns of the victims/survivors

by Rhonda Okonkwo

Institution: California State University – Sacramento
Department: Social Work
Degree: MSW
Year: 2015
Keywords: Sex trafficking; Survivors of sex trafficking; Contributing factors to sex trafficking; Professional perspectives on sex trafficking; Services for trafficking victims
Record ID: 2059155
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10211.3/138808


This study examined the perspectives of service providers on the contributing factors to sex trafficking and on the utilization of services by the victims/survivors. A non-probability sample of 21 professionals responded to a questionnaire on their knowledge of contributing factors to human trafficking, barriers to service utilization by the victims, and awareness of the services and provisions of the Human Trafficking Victims Awareness Act of 2000. Study findings suggest that majority of the participants rated their level of expertise in working with the human trafficking population as advanced. Majority of the respondents viewed poverty, child sexual abuse, and low self-esteem as major contributing factors to human trafficking. Study findings indicated a strong positive correlation (r =.755) between the scores on the professionals??? rating of the importance of applying an universal definition of human trafficking and the importance of harsher penalties for the perpetrators as key factors in the human trafficking work domains; this correlation was statistically significant at p <.001 level. The need to develop distinction between the investigative function and the service delivery function of the law enforcement officers emerged as one of the primary themes in the qualitative data analysis along with mechanisms to reduce/eliminate the fear of the victims in their interactions with the law enforcement. Additionally, ensuring the safety of the victims from the perpetrators/organized trafficking gang; training for law enforcement on the management mechanisms in dealing with the victims; language proficiency/interpretation services; and economic choices for the victims emerged as paramount to meeting the challenges of human trafficking prevention. The findings of this study indicate the essential need for more education and training on the comprehensive dynamics of human trafficking; and the need for extensive recuperative services for human trafficking survivors.