Publication Date

Spring 2018

Degree Type

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Gail Burmeister

Second Advisor

Lauren Zephro

Third Advisor

David Ramos


CSEC, Law enforcement, Smartphone, Human trafficking


The commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is a crime of abuse that is frequently unrecognized because mandated reporters may be unfamiliar with the indicators. Commercially sexually exploited minors participate in sex acts in exchange for money, goods, or services. At least 200,000 American children are believed to be victims of this crime each year (County Welfare Director Association of California, 2015). Victims often go undiscovered and experience significant health issues. A public health model is used to explain the context of victimization and the need for interdisciplinary collaboration to discover victims and connect them with needed services. A randomized controlled study with a pretest and post-test design was used to determine if a smartphone application (app) could be used by law enforcement officers, who frequently encounter these victims in their work, as an electronic decision pathway. One hundred and three subjects from five police agencies were surveyed in a classroom setting. The results showed that the difference between the pre-test and post-test scores was significant (p < 0.001) in the intervention group and that the use of an app may be beneficial to identifying victims and promoting interdisciplinary collaboration. Future direction includes adaptation of the app for use by other disciplines such as health care professionals and educators.


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