Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

First Advisor

Josie Doss, PhD, RNC-OB, AFN-C, SANE-A

Second Advisor

Krystal Canady, DNP, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC

Third Advisor

Yameika Head, MD, FAAP



Youth are a vulnerable population due to their age, developmental level, and dependability on others. Child abuse is a public health issue that addresses a broad range of inflicted harm ranging from neglect to physical and sexual maltreatment. A severe form of child sexual abuse is the Commercial Exploitation of Children (CSEC), also known as Child Sex Trafficking (CST), and Human Minor Sex Trafficking (HMST). For purposes of this paper, CSEC is used for CSEC, CST, and HMST. Commercial sexual exploitation of children includes sexual crimes involving children and adolescents for gain. Due to the child being less than 18 years old, no evidence of force must be proven. The prevalence of CSEC is unknown due to the absence of tracking, multiple definitions, lack of awareness and education, and the covert nature of the exploitation. There are risk factors associated with CSEC and residual sequela resulting in physical and mental health disabilities. Due to the health consequences experienced with exploitation, these victims seek out healthcare but are not identified by the healthcare provider. Healthcare providers are in pivotal roles in recognizing these victims with adequate education and an effective screening tool. This translational project aims to increase confidence levels in the pediatric emergency room nurses at the Beverly Knight Olsen Children's Hospital by educating on CSEC and the utilization of a validated screening tool to assist in identifying potential high–risk youth 11 – 17 years, referring them, and connecting them with essential resources.