Significance of problem: Sex trafficking (ST) impacts victims of all ages, genders, races, and ethnicities. It is a significant public health issue which is shrouded in secrecy. Although victims are typically isolated by their trafficker, they will still seek out health care services. Nurses are frontline staff with rare access to victims in a setting where help can be given.

Purpose: The primary purpose of this mixed-methods study is to explore targeted education about sex trafficking and its influence on nursing attitudes and knowledge about sex trafficking and its victims. This study also analyzes demographic information and how those variables impact nurses’ attitudes toward sex trafficking.

Methods: Guided by the Tripartite Model of Attitude Assessment (Breckler, 1984) and the Miller (2015) Sex Trafficking Education Conceptual Model, a mixed-methods, convergent design study was completed. The quantitative arm was conducted using an online survey including the Sex Trafficking Attitudes Scale (STAS) and a brief questionnaire addressing demographics and sex trafficking education. The qualitative arm was conducted using semi-structured interviews focusing on targeted sex trafficking education.

Results: Multiple linear regression analyzing survey data determined the only significant relationship was that higher nursing education (graduate level) is associated with more positive nursing attitudes toward ST victims. Qualitative data indicated multiple areas where more ST education is needed for nurses. Comparisons of quantitative and qualitative data indicate a need for more ST education to improve nursing knowledge about ST.

Date of publication

Summer 8-17-2021

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Danita Alfred, Dr. Cathy Miller, Dr. Kerri Camp



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