Introduction to Child Sexual Abuse and Trafficking Investigation

(Content Under Development : Coming soon)

Accepted in: NC, SC, TN, KY, NM, KS, GA, IA, MN & OK (approved for 2 hours)

The commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is a heinous violation of human rights and is a more prevalent problem than many people realize. CSEC is a form of child sexual abuse – it occurs when an individual trades, buys, or sells sexual acts with a child. It can also include crimes such as prostitution and international trafficking.

Very few incidents of child sexual abuse are identified, and fewer are reported to the proper authorities. A majority of cases of child sexual abuse are perpetrated by someone that the victim knows personally. Most sexual abuse of children occurs within the residence of either the victim or the abuser. Approximately 10% of sexually abused children are abused by someone they do not know. These crimes often go unreported due to the level of trust developed between the victim and the abuser. Abusers often instill a sense of isolation in the victim, making it difficult for the victim to seek help or reach out to others. As bystanders, we cannot expect the victims of abuse to reach out if they are in trouble. An investigator must be able to recognize these signs to prevent these abusive relationships from continuing.

Investigators must be vigilant and wary of the potential signs of child sexual abuse. Child sexual abuse can include any sexual act between a minor and an adult, or even a minor and another minor. Child sexual abuse can also include non-contact acts such as exposing a child to pornography, communicating with a child in a sexual manner, or grooming.

This course will examine how to recognize the different forms of child sexual abuse and CSEC, as well as the red flags which may forewarn that something is wrong.

Purpose and Goals of Child Sexual Abuse and Trafficking Investigation Course

The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with the signs of sexual exploitation of children and what actions to take when dealing with instances of CSEC. One in ten children will be sexually abused before their eighteenth birthday. This course will teach investigators the practical actions they can take to prevent child sexual abuse from happening and what actions to take when confronting a case of child sexual exploitation.

Recognizing that an appropriate boundary has been crossed between a potential child abuser and their victim is instrumental in preventing abuse from occurring. Preventing child sexual abuse can greatly reduce the risk that a child will become a victim of commercial sexual exploitation.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Understand how preventing child sexual abuse reduces the chances that a child will be commercially sexually exploited
  • Identify the different forms of commercial/non-commercial sexual child abuse
  • Identify behaviors that are common in sexually abusive relationships
  • Report instances of commercial sexual exploitation of children to the proper agencies
  • Differentiate between friendly behavior and actions which suggest an abuser is grooming a victim
  • Recognize behaviors common in victims of commercial sexual exploitation and child sexual abuse

Forms of Sexual Exploitation of Children

  1. Non-commercial child sexual abuse
  2. Child pornography
  3. Sex for trade: Prostitution that is not facilitated through a pimp or for financial gain
  4. Local prostitution
  5. National/International trafficking

Antitrafficking Legislation

  1. Trafficking Victims Protection Act
    1. Prevention of human trafficking
    2. Protection of victims
    3. Prosecution of trafficking offenders

Demographics Effected by CSEC

  1. Children between the ages of 12 and 14 are most likely to be targeted.
  2. Children of all backgrounds, sexes, and economic levels are affected. However, 95 percent of sex trafficked victims are female.
  3. CSEC disproportionally affects children who are black / African American.


Grooming is when offenders coerce their victims into sexual relationships by gradually gaining their trust over an extended period of time. It is very important to recognize when a relationship crosses a line between friendly and predatory.

  1. Targeting a child: The abuser will identify and target the child’s vulnerabilities.
  2. Building rapport with the child and their family: The abuser will attempt to gain the trust of not only the child but their immediate family and support network.
  3. Satisfying the needs of the child: The abuser further builds trust with the child by filling physical and emotional needs. These tactics can include gift giving, flattering comments, or building barriers between the child and their support network.
  4. Isolation tactics: The abuser will create situations where they are alone with the child.
  5. Sexualization: The abuser begins to create situations that are sexual in nature. This can include introducing the victim to pornography or discussing sexual acts.
  6. Maintaining control: The abuser will blame the victim and make them feel complicit in the abuse. The abuser may threaten the victim through blackmail or continue to make the victim feel dependent on the abusive relationship.

Consequences of Sexual Abuse

  1. Inclination towards crime and delinquent behavior
  2. Emotional health problems
    1. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    2. Stockholm Syndrome
    3. Memory loss
    4. Depression
    5. Anxiety
    6. Anger issues
    7. Eating disorders
  3. Substance abuse
  4. Pregnancy
  5. Sexually transmitted diseases
  6. Academic problems

Course Information

Adult Education Methods Utilized

  • Downloadable handouts
  • Narrated slides

Textbook and Course Materials

  • Articles
  • On-demand video
  • Downloadable materials
  • Certificate of Completion

Course Requirements

  • Internet connection (DSL, LAN, or cable connection desirable)
  • Access to the internet
  • Ability to use a personal computer

Course Offerings

  • Certificate of Completion
  • 60-day unlimited course access

Course Structure

This course will be delivered online, via webinar, or in person through the website. Participants will use website credentials to log in and access their accounts. Participants will access online lessons, course materials, and resources. The course will be broken down into modules for self-paced learning. Access to the course is limited to 60 days. Following the completion of the course, students will receive a certificate of completion for Continuing Education Credits and licensing renewal.

  • This course will be delivered online through a course management website
  • To access this course online, you will need to access the Internet and a supported Web browser such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome.

Technical Assistance

If you require technical assistance at any time during the course or to report a problem: