Recommendations for educating youth about sex trafficking

Alexandria M. Lesak*, Cynthia F. Rizo, Hannabeth Franchino-Olsen, Melissa R. Jenkins, Hannah Winslow, L. B. Klein, Sandra L. Martin, Rebecca J. Macy, Robin Colbert, Chris Croft, Courtney Dunkerton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The need to educate youth on sex trafficking in the United States has received considerable attention; however, limited research is available to guide development of educational programming for youth. Perspectives from 32 experts in fields connected to sex trafficking and violence prevention were obtained through focus groups and interviews. Questions focused on goals/purposes of educating youth about sex trafficking, content to include in a school-based sex trafficking curriculum for middle and high school students, methods to deliver such a curriculum, and challenges to implementing a sex trafficking curriculum in schools and associated strategies. Experts recommended content on healthy and unhealthy relationships, general information about sex trafficking, factors related to sex trafficking, and identification of safe people and needed resources. Program delivery recommendations focused on delivery approach, format, facilitation, manualization, and integration throughout the school’s curriculum. Lastly, experts noted implementation challenges and associated strategies relating to time and space in school curriculum, parents’ discomfort with educating their children about sex trafficking, and buy-in from school administrators. Results build on existing literature by providing greater depth and context on educating youth about sex trafficking. Empowering youth with information and resources regarding sex trafficking is important for promoting just, peaceful, and inclusive societies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Human Trafficking
Early online date14 Jul 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jul 2021


  • education
  • qualitative
  • sex trafficking
  • stakeholder engagement
  • youth


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