Date of Conferral





Human Services


Marie Caputi


Abstract Domestic minor sex trafficking in the United States is a human rights issue and social problem affecting over 300,000 children ages 12-17, 43% of whom are African American girls. This survey was an exploration of domestic minor sex trafficking knowledge among African American parents and their protective strategies to prevent victimization. Ecological systems theory provided a conceptual framework to examine the environmental factors shaping parental knowledge. The sample consisted of 2 Southern California African American churches (n = 38, n = 32) that served different socioeconomic groups. The African American Sex Trafficking Knowledge survey was researcher designed and pretested by 7 police colleagues. The qualitative data analysis provided sample demographic specifics and associated themes on their knowledge and strategy. Both had basic information about minor sex trafficking, but were unaware of its presence in their communities or the availability of local resources, if needed. Parents believed their children became insulated from victimization because they engaged in protective measures. The social change implications included building and coordinating resources in African American communities with the goal of reducing the high victimization rate of African American children. African American churches as family resource centers could facilitate meaningful parent-child dialogues about sex trafficking. This partnership could initiate innovative preventive programs with community organizations. The outcome could be a model for creating effective culturally-sensitive prevention programs for not only African American families, but also other vulnerable groups.