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, â??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.