Date of Award

Fall 12-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Security

Committee Chair

Charles L. Scheer

Committee Chair School

Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Security

Committee Member 2

Lisa S. Nored

Committee Member 2 School

Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Security

Committee Member 3

Tamara E. Hurst

Committee Member 3 School

Social Work

Committee Member 4

Paula H. Broome


Human trafficking, a crime hidden in plain sight, does not answer to civility or the inherent human rights established within societal norms. While several factors influence this heinous crime, the absence of training and the incorporation of best practices among law enforcement personnel impairs the proper identification of victims, as well as the arrest and prosecution of facilitators, traffickers, and buyers (Clawson, Dutch, & Cummings, 2006; Dandurand, 2017; Darwinkel, Powell, & Tidmarsh, 2013; Davy, 2016; Efrat, 2015; Farrell, 2014; Farrell, McDevitt, Fahy, 2010; Farrell, McDevitt, Pfeffer, Fahy, Owens, Dank, & Adams, 2012; Farrell & Pfeffer, 2014, Grubb & Bennet, 2012; Renzetti, Bush, Castellanos, & Hunt, 2015; Muftic, 2014; Potocky, 2011; Stolz, 2010; Wilson, Walsh, & Kleuber, 2006). The current study provided an assessment of human trafficking training available to law enforcement personnel within a southern state. Specifically, a thematic analysis was conducted which allowed a more in-depth investigation into the status of police training on the topic of human trafficking. Semistructured interviews (n = 10) were conducted with law enforcement personnel within two training contexts – agency and basic academy. Data collected from interviews, observations, and documents were analyzed using ATLAS.ti. Findings of the study revealed four main themes, 1) approaches to training, 2) obstacles in the impetus of training, 3) role of law enforcement and attitudes towards training, and 4) evidence-based practices as a driving force (in training). This study was limited to the perceptions of law enforcement personnel in a single state. Nonetheless, it attempted to lessen the widening gap in literature, by directly targeting the availability and efficiency of human trafficking training within the context of policing. Major implications of the study were an essential need for accessibility, standardization, and universality, as well as field-specific modalities of police training on human trafficking utilizing best practices. Additionally, the implementation of policies and/or guidelines specific to the crime of human trafficking within the context of police training were warranted. Obstacles in the implementation and delivery training were also indicated.



Available for download on Sunday, December 01, 2024