Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Dr.Eric Wright

Second Advisor

Melissa Haberlen

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Human trafficking in all forms is an enormous violation of the most basic of human rights and a serious public health issue. This violation has been highlighted as a public health issue because of the severe mental and physical health consequences its victims face. Exact numbers do not currently exist, however, there are reports estimating the prevalence of this crime. It is estimated that 14,500-17,500 human trafficking victims are brought into the United States every year, with 70% of these victims being sold into the sex industry. Additionally, an estimated 300,000 minors in the United States are at-risk. Applying a public health perspective can provide a valuable framework for identifying risk factors, conducting research for new interventions, evaluating existing programs, and disseminating promising and best practices

PURPOSE:

This paper presents findings from a formative evaluation performed for Hire Hope. Hire Hope is a career-readiness and job placement program designed to meet the needs of young women who have become victims of sex trafficking and those who are at-risk of becoming victims. A review of the literature indicates that there is a need for evidence-based programs with proven effectiveness in aiding the rehabilitation of victims back into society, as well as interventions to prevent others from becoming victims. Hire Hope assists the participants’ reintegration into society by delivering a program that addresses known risk factors for sex trafficking: poverty and a lack of work opportunities.

METHODS:

Using a survey instrument administered through Qualtrics, data were collected to assess participant experiences with and reactions to the program. The survey measured five domains reflective of the program: Career Readiness, Self-Efficacy, Self-Awareness, Increased Knowledge, and Job & Apprenticeship Experience. Frequencies and percentages were calculated for statements answered on a 5-point Likert scale. Open-ended questions gathered qualitative data that were then analyzed for major themes. Observational data were gathered from observations of weekly training sessions.

CONCLUSIONS:

This evaluation of Hire Hope was conducted to provide the program staff with information they could use to improve the program. The survey responses revealed that Hire Hope is making progress in helping the women achieve the three primary program goals. The program also appears to be implemented as planned. Recommendations for Hire Hope include continued surveillance of the program, improved communication between program staff and their non-profit partners and a need for continued structure in the classroom. The information obtained from this formative evaluation will contribute to the limited knowledge base of programs for domestic victims of human trafficking and add to the list of programs victims that provide job placement services.

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