Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Teri Aronowitz

Second Advisor

Emily Jones

Third Advisor

Deborah Mahony


Human trafficking is a global problem and a multi-billion dollar industry. Most victims are women and girls and more than half are children. In the United States, many at risk youth continue to attend school with school nurses on the frontlines. Using the Peace and Power Conceptual Model, a mixed methods study was conducted to explore their awareness, attitudes, and role perceptions in prevention of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). Two factors related to increased awareness, and positive attitudes and role perceptions to prevent of CSEC included prior exposure to working with vulnerable students, and prior education about CSEC. Two factors that inhibited identification of CSEC included an uncertainty in identifying CSEC, and a lack of collaboration with colleagues in schools. Four sub-themes were identified; ‘exposure/knowledge, ‘collaboration’, ‘role boundaries’, and ‘creating respite space’. Future research should target the multidisciplinary school team. Simultaneous policy efforts should focus on improving practice conditions for school nurses to support their role in identification and intervention to prevent CSEC among at risk youth.