Erin McCauley, Assistant Professor of Sociology in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, received a K01 award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control for a project evaluating a school-based intervention aimed at reducing the risk of human trafficking and youth violence.
Historically, human trafficking has been viewed through a criminal legal lens, meaning efforts have focused on intervening after human trafficking has occurred. However, human trafficking is a pervasive form of violence which also merits a comprehensive public health response. One such effort is the PROTECT program, a violence prevention program which operates at the individual, family, and school level to promote protective factors, increase awareness of human trafficking, and change behaviors with the goal of preventing human trafficking among youth. This project has three aims and will employ a school- level randomized control trial design to evaluate the effectiveness of the PROTECT program. In Aim 1 I will survey youth, caregivers, and school employees in the intervention and control groups prior to and after program implementation to examine the effect of the program on knowledge about human trafficking, protective factors for youth, and changed behaviors. In Aim 2, I will examine the enduring effect of the program through a follow up survey 1-year after program implementation. Then, in Aim 3, I will examine cross-over effects related to school performance and discipline using school level administrative data. Together, these aims will evaluate the effectiveness of this comprehensive and cross-cutting violence prevention program and inform program improvements to reduce human trafficking.