Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Karel Kurst-Swanger


Human trafficking, domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST), and commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) are complex and multifaceted occurrences in the United States. As the numbers of youth ensnared in sexually exploitive situations increase, organizations and communities are called upon to address the ramifications of this abuse; little research was located, however, that examined collaborative networks and partnerships that address victim identification and mitigation of DMST and CSEC. The purpose of this qualitative single case study was to determine whether strategic partnerships existed within the community under investigation. The theoretical framework was environmental theory, as first described by Florence Nightingale; the conceptual framework was centered on collaborative networks. Research questions focused on victim identification and organizational strategies for collaboration and mitigation of sex trafficking. The research population was composed of 8 individuals working in organizations in a metropolitan area on the West Coast that served victims of DMST and CSEC. Data obtained from interviews were coded, compared, and analyzed for major and emergent themes. Findings indicated that, in the effort to identify victims, these 8 individuals needed to consider all children involved in prostitution as victims and not criminals. Further, their efforts toward mitigation needed to center on widespread education across the broader social spectrum of the issues with DMST and CSEC. These workers identified strategies identified to address DMST and CSEC included the "5 Ps": prevention, protection, prosecution, partnership, and policy. These findings may inform organizations and policy makers about how to make informed decisions about the needs and challenges of addressing sexually exploited youth.