Date of Conferral





Criminal Justice


Gregory Campbell


AbstractThe problem addressed in this phenomenological study was the lack of documentation of the supported lived experiences of the precursors that children exhibit prior to being groomed by a sex trafficker into human sex trafficking. The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of adults, whom as a child, were groomed into sex trafficking due to being bullied, experienced familial abuse and had used illegal drugs, concurrent. Using Ostrom's institutional analysis theory (IAT) and Shaw and McKay's social disorganization theory (SDT), this study examined the three precursors of human trafficking that occurred, concurrently, prior and during the grooming of children into human trafficking. Ostrom's IAT aligned closer with the three precursors of being bullied, familial abuse and using illegal drugs concurrently, with childhood grooming as described by the five formally trafficked participants' remembrance of their lived experiences. Participants provided data which were comprised of completed open-ended questions and transcribed interviews. The method of analysis used was a combination of inductive coding and theme analysis that established the results of the study. Key findings of the study identified a significant pattern of the three precursors a sex trafficker uses when grooming a child into sex trafficking. Fundamentals of Ostrom's IAT theory and lived experiences revealed by the participants created an awareness of the grooming done by the sex traffickers. The positive social change produced from this study included giving a voice to sexually trafficked participants. Specialized training may promote awareness for first responders to combat sex trafficking of children.