Commercial Sexual Exploitation: A Survey of the Knowledge, Concerns, and Training of Transit Personnel in Las Vegas, Nevada
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
First Committee Member
Margaret Alexis Kennedy
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Fourth Committee Member
Number of Pages
Transportation personnel, in particular bus drivers, encounter young people who are commercially sexually exploited frequently and throughout the course of their daily jobs. Given the frequency of this interaction, bus drivers are perceived to be the eyes and ears of the transportation industry, playing a key role in the identification and prevention of trafficking. To support national efforts in combating human trafficking, between September 1st, 2020 and June 15th, 2021, the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Southern Nevada trained all its existing employees and new hires on human trafficking dynamics and reporting protocols. These included legal definitions, victim characteristics, recruitment locations and tactics used by sex traffickers, as well as points of intersection with the transit industry. The training lasted approximately two hours and was facilitated by a Human Resource Manager associated with the RTC. The current project sought to evaluate the effectiveness of the human trafficking training program administered by the RTC using two measures of success. By employing pre- and post-test survey measures and other data points, the goals of the current study were fourfold: 1) to determine whether transit personnel in Las Vegas were aware of trafficking dynamics prior to receiving any formal training on the topic; 2) to evaluate the degree to which transit personnel’s perceived awareness, job-related skills, and confidence levels changed following the implementation of the training program; 3) to identify any perceived concerns that might prevent transit personnel from intervening if they suspect someone to be a potential trafficking victim; and 4) to consider whether any interventions were performed by RTC personnel and their community health partner after the implementation of the training program. The pre- and post-test survey questionnaire included a series of closed and open-ended questions and was administered via Qualtrics. Between September 1st, 2020 and June 15th, 2021, a total of 1,243 RTC employees completed the pre-test survey, and 837 responses were received via the post-test survey. This indicated a 90% response rate for the pre-test and a 61% for the post-test survey. Those who completed the training between September 1st, 2020 and December 8th, 2020 did not generally complete the post-test survey. Therefore, the quantitative analyses were limited to the bus operators who completed the training between December 9th, 2020 and June 15th, 2021, given that they were the vast majority of people trained. A total of 766 bus operators answered the pre-test survey during this timeframe, while 730 bus operators completed the post-test survey. The qualitative descriptive analyses were not limited to the bus operators but were reflective of the entire sample size. Results indicate that transit personnel had a high awareness and understanding of trafficking dynamics prior to receiving any formal training on the topic. They also identified a number of perceived locations for sex trafficking (e.g., West Tropicana Avenue, Downtown Las Vegas, Boulder Highway, and the Las Vegas Strip). Changes from pre-test to post-test were reported on several of the survey questions, indicating that the training program created by the RTC was indeed effective and increased participant’s perceived awareness, job-related skills, and confidence levels. Most participants expressed concerns over their own personal safety. Four interventions were performed by RTC personnel following the implementation of the training program, while six interventions were provided by their community health partner. Implications for future research directions are drawn as well as policy recommendations for improving sex trafficking training curriculum for transit personnel.
bus drivers; commercial sexual exploitation; sex trafficking; specialized training; transportation
Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Bejinariu, Elena A., "Commercial Sexual Exploitation: A Survey of the Knowledge, Concerns, and Training of Transit Personnel in Las Vegas, Nevada" (2022). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 4363.
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