WilmU’s New Certificate in Human Trafficking Awareness Is the First of Its Kind

Coming in Fall 2019, Wilmington University will offer an 18-credit certificate in Human Trafficking Awareness. It will be the only one of its kind in the country.


Human Trafficking VictimHuman trafficking is the denial of basic human freedoms and rights to any individual through force, fraud or coercion. Since Delaware passed legislation to strengthen the penalties for human trafficking in 2014, several cases have been reported and arrests made.

Over the last few years, WilmU has established itself as the leading resource for educating Delaware professionals about this growing problem. Several undergraduate courses in human trafficking have been offered since 2015, and, according to Dr. Johanna Bishop, the University’s Director of Behavioral Sciences Programs, “Over 300 students have completed these classes at WilmU and are now going out into community, into social service industries, having developed knowledge in recognizing and responding to suspected cases of human trafficking.”

Bishop emphasizes that, “This certificate program legitimizes the academic study of trafficking as a human problem demanding the attention of experts in criminal, social and psychological services fields.”

The certificate can be completed as a stand-alone credential, or as a Dual-Credit Certificate that also earns students credit toward a WilmU bachelor’s degree.

Bishop hopes the certificate will raise awareness of the crime in our communities: “Developing greater awareness of the human trafficking problem will enable all those working on the front line and dealing with humans in crisis, to know how to respond to, and investigate, suspected human trafficking cases.”

In 2017, more than 8,700 cases of human trafficking were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, according to the Polaris Project, which tracks such statistics, representing a 15.6% increase over 2016. “Creating awareness of human trafficking is essential to eliminating trafficking altogether,” Bishop says.

The Annual Human Trafficking Symposium will be held at Wilmington University on June 12 and 13, 2019. Professionals attending one or both days may be eligible for continuing education credits for health, school, social and legal professionals.