UK researchers to present at National Human Trafficking Prevention Summit

The National Human Trafficking Prevention Summit is being held in Arlington, Virginia, from Aug. 3-4, 2023.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 3 2023) — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has invited two University of Kentucky researchers to present at the National Human Trafficking Prevention Summit held in Arlington, Virginia, from Aug. 3-4, 2023.

Ann Coker, Ph.D., a professor of epidemiology and interim executive director and the Verizon Wireless Endowed Chair in the UK Center for Research on Violence Against Women (CRVAW), and Ginny Sprang, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and executive director of the UK Center on Trauma and Children (CTAC), will present “Randomized Control Trial of Bystander-based Online Training to Prevent Child Sex Trafficking for Kentucky Middle School Staff” and “A Bystander Approach to Preventing and Addressing Child Sex Trafficking: The See It to Stop It Indicator Tool.”

The HHS-hosted Summit will bring together experts and leaders across various levels of government, private sector entities, nonprofits, research organizations and beyond to inspire a collective effort to prevent human trafficking.

“We are honored to be invited to present at the National Human Trafficking Prevention Summit. Our Commonwealth is not immune to the injustices of child sex trafficking, but our hope is that by fostering a collective commitment to awareness, education and proactive intervention we can work together to protect our children,” said Coker.

Coker and Sprang are principal investigators in the study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the project’s first phase, researchers worked to raise awareness about child sex trafficking (CST) through a billboard campaign in more than two dozen randomly selected Kentucky counties.

As part of the second phase of the project, researchers will develop and test a training program for middle school staff that includes information on noticing signs of child sex trafficking in students, approaches to screening and providing resources for those at risk, and strategies to prevent trafficking in middle schools.

“We are thankful for this opportunity to shed light on the trafficking of youth and the transformative power of trauma-informed care,” said Sprang. “Through sharing our work on this intervention, both CTAC and CRVAW hope to equip educators with the knowledge to recognize potential indicators of CST and thereby empower them to be vigilant protectors.”

Select sessions of the Summit will be streamed online and you can sign up for updates online here.

Coker will also be presenting on intimate partner violence and maternal mortality during the Kentucky Perinatal Quality Collaborative (KyPQC) annual meeting on Aug. 10.

KyPQC is a statewide network working to improve the quality of care during pregnancy, delivery and throughout the first year of life. You can learn more about the event online here.

This project is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $800,000 with 0% financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit

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