Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Advisor(s)

Matthew Ezzell

Beth Eck

Rebecca Howes-Mischel

Abstract

Victims and victimhood are socially constructed concepts that are given meaning through interaction. Human trafficking victims face labels that are interpreted through a variety of frames due to the complex nature of discourses surrounding human trafficking. Based on 304 hours of participant observation and 10 semi-structured interviews with service providers, law enforcement, and survivors of human trafficking I first seek to identify the ways service providers and law enforcement officials use labels and neutralization techniques to support an overall frame of human trafficking as an issue of human rights. Second, I analyze how their efforts to neutralize the label of "human trafficking victim” affect victims' ability to self-identify as a victim and gain access to services. Finally, I argue that individualistic frames of human trafficking distract from the root causes that underlie trafficking victimization.

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