Knowledge and Skills of Elon Students Surrounding Sex Trafficking and Labor Exploitation Issues: Implications for Human Trafficking Education and Prevention Among College and University Students

Georgia Ellan Lee


While human trafficking is becoming increasingly recognized as a critical issue on various levels, little research exists that measures the understanding and perceptions of university students about the issue. Previous research has emphasized the need for increased education for the general public about human trafficking, as ordinary citizens serve an important role in the identification and notification of human trafficking activity (Logan, Walker, & Hunt, 2009). Additionally, research exploring the perceptions and understanding of university students surrounding sexual violence has shown the positive effects that education about sexual violence can have on university students’ willingness to intervene and address this issue (Banyard, 2008; Banyard, Moynihan, & Plante, 2007; McMahon, 2010). These previous findings suggest the important role of education and skill-building for university students in working to prevent and combat human trafficking, especially in regards to understanding, identification, and intervention. This research aims to measure the current level of university students’ knowledge and skills surrounding human trafficking issues. University student participants completed a quantitative online questionnaire that evaluated their knowledge, skills, behavior, and beliefs surrounding human trafficking issues. One construct of the research interpreted student responses to Likert-type scale and multiple choice questions into varying levels of knowledge and skills. This data suggests that university students have mainly low and medium levels of knowledge and skills related to the nature, prevalence, and identification of human trafficking, with exceptional instances of high levels. These results emphasize the need for increased understanding and consistent education about human trafficking issues among university students. The results also showed the need for greater knowledge about the incidence and prevalence of human trafficking on the local level, more effective training on human trafficking identification and referral skills, and a better understanding of what actions students can take to support businesses and organizations that work to fight human trafficking.


Human Trafficking; Student Education; Victim Prevention

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