An Examination of Strategies to Bring Awareness to Human Trafficking in One's Community


Lara Vanderhoof, DSW, LMSW | September 20 | 1:30-2:30 PM

Topic: Research | Knowledge Level: Beginner, Intermediate

The purpose of this study was to explore how individuals within the faith-based organization in a Midwest town could bring about awareness and education regarding human trafficking to individuals in the local community. The community that was studied is geographically located in the center of the United States, along major highways leaving the entire community at risk of human trafficking. The primary research participants are members of the local Midwest “Free Now” (pseudonym) group consisting of approximately 10 individuals who are college students, professionals and retirees. The organization’s mission is to end modern-day slavery. The majority of the participants were female, Caucasian, and all were connected to a faith-based community as the core commonality. Participatory Action Research (PAR) was the method used in this study. PAR offers community members and the researcher a collaborative relationship in which interviews and focus groups are conducted to address the concerns of human trafficking. An anticipated outcome of this study was to mobilize community members to engage and learn how to bring awareness and education about human trafficking by transforming how individuals respond to this social injustice. In addition, this research study was to inform individuals and help strengthen their voices. A recommended potential intervention was that the local group would collaborate with service providers to develop strategies to bring awareness and education on the issue of human trafficking.

Presentation Objectives:

·  Convey the basics of how PAR is conducted.

·  Highlight skills to utilize interview and focus group tools to collect data from one’s community.

·  Describe how to mobilize community members to determine how to address the issue of human trafficking in one’s community.

About the Presenter