Date of Conferral



Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Public Policy and Administration


David Milen


Human trafficking is a transnational crime that allows traffickers to abuse victims physically and mentally, as well as stripping them of their human rights. The United Nations theory of human security and Mendelsohn's theory of victimology provided a conceptual framework to examine the harm that people endure from human trafficking. The purpose of this qualitative multiple-case study was to explain how human trafficking threatens the security of people and communities. Reviewing data from the Department of State concerning trafficking led to the investigation of youth exploitation, the use of technology in advancing the growth of human trafficking, the health concerns of victims of communities, and the possible uses of money made by traffickers. The primary guiding question for this study asked, "How does human trafficking threaten the safety of people who live in communities and the security of those communities throughout the United States? Data were collected from articles and current information published by government agencies, news media, and non-governmental organizations. Data were analyzed after coding for themes and patterns using Braun and Clarke's 6-step thematic analysis procedure. Findings indicate that victims live in fear, have lost their lives, are operating in plain sight but not recognized as victims, and endanger people living in local communities. The implications for positive social change include recommendations for collaboration among all stakeholders at the local level where traffickers operate in vulnerable communities, increase training of local law enforcement and healthcare personnel in identifying victims properly, and the development of awareness programs that reach people in local communities.