Research Publications

Journal Publication – Information Systems Journal (Forthcoming)

Title: Information technology as a resource to counter domestic sex trafficking in the United States

Authors: Laurie Giddens, PhD; Stacie Petter, PhD; Michael Fullilove

Abstract: Globally, millions of individuals are victims of sex trafficking and are compelled to perform sexual acts through force, fraud, or coercion. Law enforcement agencies, non-profit organisations, and social entrepreneurs increasingly are using information technology as a resource to locate, identify, and rescue victims and find, arrest, and convict traffickers. In this qualitative case study, we partnered with a non-profit organisation that trains law enforcement officers to use information technology to counter sex trafficking. For this research study, we observed training courses, interviewed law enforcement officers and non-profit staff, and reviewed technology usage logs and other data sources. Some officers readily used the new information technology post-training, while others failed to use the new technology. Using conservation of resources theory as a sensitising lens, we identify two factors affecting the use of new technology post-training: the level of organisational resources available to individuals and the individual’s perceptions of the new information technology as a resource. With these findings, we develop the Resources Model of Information Technology Use to explain how perceptions of organisational and technology resources affect information technology usage patterns and outcomes.

Journal Publication — Anti-Trafficking Review

Title: A Train-the-Trainer Programme to Deliver High Quality Education for Healthcare Providers

Authors: Jessica Peck

Abstract: A promising practice for educating anti-trafficking stakeholders in healthcare emerged through an innovative train-the-trainer programme from a National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioner’s initiative called the Alliance for Children in Trafficking (ACT). The purpose of this training is to provide effective, high-quality education development with wide dissemination and reach. The obstacles to in-person education due to COVID-19 resulted in a pivot to a virtual platform to continue the ACT Advocate programme. This paper considers the engagement of the nursing profession in operationalising the ACT Advocate programme as a way to lead advocacy and education efforts, using a public health approach, for effective responses to child trafficking.

Journal Publication — Journal of Human Trafficking

TitleMandated Continuing Education Requirements for Health Care Professional State Licensure: The Texas Model

Authors: Jessica Peck; Jordan Greenbaum; Hanni Stoklosa.

Abstract: well acknowledged that persons who have experienced human trafficking and persons at risk for victimization often present for health care services. It is also extensively documented in scientific literature that awareness of trafficking among clinical providers remains relatively low. Well-intentioned but poorly executed trainings spread misinformation, aid propulsion of stigma and bias, and often neglect to provide individualized and practically actionable messages for specific clinical audiences. Widespread adoption of
standards to ensure evidence-based, patient-centered, trauma-informed, and culturally responsive care is lacking. The state of Texas recently passed legislation requiring direct health care providers to complete one hour of continuing education on human trafficking to qualify for licensure renewal. Advocates guided the implementation of this law based on lessons of previously enacted legislation in other states. Texas can serve as a regulatory policy model for adhering to evidence-based standards in human trafficking educational state or federal mandate.

Journal Publication – Journal of Pediatric Health Care (2021)

Title: White paper: Recognizing human trafficking as a critical emerging health threat

Authors: Jessica L. Peck, DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC, CNE, CNL, FAANP; Mikki Meadows-Oliver, PhD, MPH, PNP-BC, RN, FAAN; Stacia M. Hays, DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC, CNE; Dawn Garzon Maaks, PhD, CPNP-PC, PMHS, FAANP, FAAN

Abstract: Human trafficking is a pandemic human rights violation with an emerging paradigm shift that reframes an issue traditionally seen through a criminal justice lens to that of a public health crisis, particularly for children. Children and adolescents who are trafficked or are at risk for trafficking should receive evidence-based, trauma-informed, and culturally responsive care from trained health care providers (HCPs). The purpose of this article was to engage and equip pediatric HCPs to respond effectively to human trafficking in the clinical setting, improving health outcomes for affected and at-risk children. Pediatric HCPs are ideally positioned to intervene and advocate for children with health disparities and vulnerability to trafficking in a broad spectrum of care settings and to optimize equitable health outcomes.

Journal Publication – Journal of School Nursing (2021)

Title: The role of nursing in the school setting to lead efforts to impact child trafficking: An integrative review

Authors: Megan Doiron, BSN, RN; Jessica L. Peck, DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC, CNE, CNL, FAANP, FAAN

Abstract: Registered professional and advanced practice nurses in the school setting, as a specialized practice entity, are leaders in implementation of evidence-based practice, skilled coordinators of care, advocates for students, and experts in designing systems assisting individuals and communities to reach full potential. Child trafficking (CT) is an emerging public health threat impacting safety and well-being of students present in the school setting. This literature review identified four themes in five studies: (1) training impacts nurses’ knowledge, awareness, and attitudes; (2) school nursing is underrepresented in training, education, prevention, response, and research; (3) lack of collaboration exists between school staff and school nurses; and (4) formal education and length of experience impact levels of interventions school nurses are able to provide. School nurses are opportunely situated to intervene as advocates for vulnerable children to develop a coordinated, effective response to CT risk factors, mitigating risk and fostering resiliency with systems-based change.

Journal Publication – Journal of Pediatric Surgical Nursing (2020)

Title: Child trafficking victims in pediatric surgical environments: Implications for nursing care and advocacy

Author: Jessica L. Peck, DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC, CNE, CNL, FAANP

Abstract: Human trafficking is a global human rights violation and emerging public health emergency. Child trafficking (CT), in particular, is both understudied and underreported. Despite the demonstrated need for skilled and knowledgeable health professional interventions, awareness across the continuum of care environments remains low. There is virtually no published scientific nursing literature exploring incidence and impact of CT specifically presenting in surgical settings, although survivor reports indicate an urgent and pressing need for it as victims may be hiding in plain sight within care environments. The purpose of this article is not to provide an exhaustive overview of the definitions, etiology, or means and purposes of CT but to draw attention of pediatric surgical nurses (PSNs) to consider how victims may be presenting for surgical care. PSNs need increased education, awareness, and tools to competently advocate for effective policy development and prioritized research efforts. PSNs should coordinate evidence-based, trauma-informed, and culturally responsive clinical actions in pediatric surgical care environments.

Article Publication – Police Chief (2020)

Title: Hidden crimes, invisible victims: Next generation strategies for detecting and investigating human trafficking crimes

Authors: Hilary Axam; Sean Tepfer

Abstract: Human traffickers prey on some of the most vulnerable members of society, exploiting them for compelled labor, services, or commercial sex, often through invisible schemes of psychological coercion that can be exceptionally difficult to detect. Trafficking crimes pose serious threats not only to the rights, freedom, and dignity of individual victims, but also to the public health and safety of communities and the rule of law. While combating trafficking threats is therefore an urgent priority, it presents numerous challenges that law enforcement must overcome to detect hidden trafficking crimes, secure the cooperation of traumatized victims as essential witnesses, and develop sufficient evidence to bring human traffickers to justice.

Conference Publication – Americas Conference on Information Systems (August 2020)

Title: The challenges of using information technology to counter human trafficking

Authors: Stacie Petter, PhD; Laurie Giddens, PhD; Michael Fullilove

Abstract: In our society, many social entrepreneurs have endeavored to create and distribute technology designed to impact society for good. In this paper we highlight technologies used to counter human trafficking, namely sex trafficking. While these technologies offer significant promise to identify both victims and perpetrators of human trafficking, there are significant reasons why users (i.e., law enforcement officers) resist using information systems that may help with rescuing victims and bringing traffickers to justice. Based on interviews with (1) members of a non-profit organization that trains law enforcement officers to use information systems to counter human trafficking and (2) law enforcement officers, we identify several reasons why law enforcement officers fail to use new information systems or adapt their existing use of information systems to counter human trafficking.

Journal Publication – Advances in Family Practice (2020)

Title: Human Trafficking in the clinical setting: Critical competencies for family nurse practitioners.

Author: Jessica L. Peck, DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC, CNE, CNL, FAANP

Key Points: Family nurse practitioners may encounter trafficking victims and can serve as an important link in identification, connection to recovery services, and advocacy and prevention efforts. Misperceptions exist among health care providers about human trafficking, which facilitate its covert nature, making it critical to develop competencies aiding in trauma-informed victim identification and response. Health impacts of trafficking are multifaceted, including poorly managed chronic medical conditions, significant mental health issues, substance abuse/misuse, sexual health problems, and diminished life. Multidisciplinary holistic response in development of care models and organizational protocols is important for clinical care, case management, referral, and care coordination of trafficking victims. Health care can be an effective first responder force to raise awareness through evidence-based education, advocating for policy change, and implementing prevention measures for identified risk.

Journal Publication – Journal of Pediatric Health Care (2020)

Title: Human trafficking of children: Nurse practitioner knowledge, beliefs, and experience supporting the development of a practice guideline: Part two.

Author: Jessica L. Peck, DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC, CNE, CNL, FAANP

Abstract: Part 1 of this series addressed low levels of awareness about child trafficking among pediatric health care providers, supporting the need for clinical practice guidelines to aid evidence-based response to potential victims in the clinical setting. The purpose of this article was to explore evidence related to effective clinical response when encountering at-risk children or those who have experienced trafficking and make recommendations for a practice guideline. An integrated review of the literature included electronic data search of PubMed, Ovid, and CINAHL and application of the social ecological model for thematic analysis. Research is primarily inconclusive on the effective clinical response for victims and potential victims of child trafficking, indicating the need for practice guidelines directed at both prevention and intervention. This review supports pediatric clinicians as ideally equipped and situated to intervene in a myriad of care settings on behalf of children with health disparities who are vulnerable to trafficking, advocating for prevention, and optimization of equitable health outcomes.

Journal Publication – Journal of Pediatric Health Care (2019)

Title: Human trafficking of children: Nurse practitioner knowledge, beliefs, and experience supporting the development of a practice guideline: Part One

Authors: Jessica L. Peck, DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC, CNE, CNL, FAANP; Mikki Meadows-Oliver, PhD, MPH, PNP-BC, RN

Abstract: Up to 87% of trafficking victims encounter a health care provider while being trafficked but are not recognized as victims. Most health care providers receive little or no training, and awareness remains low. To describe the knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes of pediatric advanced practice registered nurses about human trafficking. A survey of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners membership (n = 8,647) before the intervention measured knowledge, beliefs, and experience regarding child trafficking. An awareness campaign was implemented with continuing education, national media presence, Train the Trainer programs, and creation of a nonprofit organization to direct strategic initiatives. Overall, 799 (9%) NAPNAP members completed the survey. Although 87% believed it possible that they might encounter a victim of trafficking in their practice, 35% were unsure if they had provided care for a victim. Only 24% reported confidence in their ability to identify a child at risk for trafficking. These survey findings indicate the need for clinical practice guidelines to identify potential and actual victims of human trafficking. Pediatric advanced practice registered nurses are ideally equipped and situated to intervene on behalf of vulnerable children with health disparities in a myriad of care settings, advocating for prevention and optimization of equitable health outcomes.