News Release

Laurie E. Bick-Jensen
Director, Public Relations
320 DuPont Highway
New Castle, DE 19720
(302) 295-1164

Human Trafficking Happens in Delaware

Wilmington University offers free "Human Trafficking, Sextortion and Social Media" presentation on January 19.

The modern-day slavery of human trafficking is a global problem that strikes alarmingly close to home as predators use social media to lure young teenagers into prostitution. Do you know how to tell if trafficking is occurring in your community, and how to protect your children against it?

Parents, teachers, school counselors, school nurses and health care providers are invited to educate themselves about the risks and responses to this growing problem at a free "Human Trafficking, Sextortion and Social Media" presentation on Thursday, January 19, at 4:00 p.m. in the Doberstein Admissions Center auditorium at the New Castle campus of Wilmington University, 320 N. DuPont Highway. The presentation will be hosted by the Wilmington University College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

The presentation will be repeated at the Dover location of Wilmington University on Monday, January 23, at 4:00 p.m. in the Building A auditorium. The Dover site is located at 3282 N. DuPont Highway. 

The presentation is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is requested for both presentations. Click here for the New Castle event. To sign up for the Dover event, please click here.

"Human trafficking occurs locally," said Dr. Johanna P. Bishop, director of behavioral science programs at the university. "Several cases of trafficking have been discovered in Delaware in recent months. Our presentations will focus on explaining to parents and others the risks that social media pose, and how easy it is for perpetrators to track, attract and lure potential victims."

Guest speakers Patty Dailey-Lewis, executive director of the Beau Biden Foundation, and Delaware Family Court commissioner Loretta Young will discuss how participation in social media can too easily expose children to the threat of human trafficking, and how the justice system is addressing sex offenders on the internet.

Faculty members from the Wilmington University College of Health Professions will share tips on recognizing the sometimes overlooked signs that a child is being trafficked. Criminal justice program faculty will also review how law enforcement authorities are taking action against child sex trafficking and "sextortion" through social media.

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, human trafficking "involves the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act; or, commercial sex involving a person under 18 years of age." A Justice Department study found that more than 40% of the human trafficking incidents investigated in the U.S. between 2008 and 2010 involved child sex offenses.

"Children who have been raised in broken homes or foster care, who have run away, or who are otherwise disenfranchised are at particular risk of trafficking," Dr. Bishop added. "Anytime a child does not have a strong family foundation, or lacks a good relationship with her parents, has parents who are disinterested in his or her life, and if he or she spends a great deal of time on social media, he or she is at risk."

For more information about "Human Trafficking, Sextortion and Social Media," contact Dr. Johanna Bishop by email at

About Wilmington University

Wilmington University is a private, nonprofit institution committed to providing flexible, career-oriented, traditional and online associate, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs. Ranked as the second fastest growing nonprofit doctoral institution in America 2004 – 2014 by The Almanac of The Chronicle of Higher Education, affordable tuition, academic excellence and individualized attention are hallmarks of the University that enable greater student success in their chosen careers. For more information, contact Wilmington University at 302-356-INFO (4636), via email at, or visit our website:

Published: Sunday, January 1, 2017 - New Castle, DE