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Human Sex Trafficking AnalysisChapter Writing

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¶ … lens into human sex trafficking and offer a deeper understanding of the growing problem on several levels. Human sex trafficking has grown both domestically and internationally with medical professionals and law enforcement often lacking training to properly identify sex trafficking victims. Raising awareness is key and agenda-setting theory explains that increase coverage of the issue leads to increase awareness by the public of the problem of sex trafficking and help the public regard it as a high-priority issue to address.

The hypothesis focuses on whether increased awareness and training will lead to improved efforts to curb and prevent human sex trafficking, as well as treat victims affected by it. Findings led to the discovery there is lack of training when it comes to identifying sex trafficking victims and data collection like surveys help provide increase awareness of this problem. Other findings point to victims falling into sex trafficking due to promises of employment. The conclusion suggests increased collection gathering, reporting findings in the news and other media platforms, and increasing training in medical professionals and law enforcement so sex trafficking victims can be more readily identified.

Introduction

Human sex trafficking is a growing problem both in the United States and the world. Efforts must be made to increase awareness of the issue as well as training to allow medical professionals and law enforcement the ability to identify sex trafficking victims and areas where sex trafficking may take place to prevent human sex trafficking from reaching a higher level of activity. This paper aims to develop through

1. identification of research gaps in information,

2. effective methods of data collection,

3. and showcasing the reality and prevalence of human sex trafficking, a means of illustrating the gravity of human sex trafficking and providing ways to thwart and prevent it.

Literature Review

Human sex trafficking has existed for centuries. However, in recent years it has grown in sophistication thanks to the involvement of organized crime and use of various locations across the world. Now human sex trafficking exists both domestically and internationally where victims are lured and taken and then transferred to either another city or another country. The majority of the public are unaware, especially in western countries like the United States, that humans sex trafficking occurs domestically. New media coverage of human sex trafficking is a way the public and government can work together in addressing the growing problem of sex slavery.

However, increasing awareness is not the only way to decrease human sex trafficking. Another is to learn to effectively treat sex trafficking victims. A 2015 study used surveys to collect responses from sex trafficking victims receiving treatment. This survey helped demonstrate gaps in awareness and knowledge of sex trafficking and showed the one of the greatest barriers in identifying victims was due to in part to a lack of training, especially of pediatric victims. "Health care providers demonstrate gaps in knowledge and awareness of ST, specifically of pediatric victims, that correlate with their limited experience and training. Training is crucial to improve identification of these victims and provide appropriate care for their specific needs" (Beck et al., 2015, p. e895). Though they gained a lot of insight from their findings, the study should have also included adult victims as underage victims just represent one part of the population used for sex slavery.

Training remains an important aspect to the identification and treatment of sex trafficking victims. Part of that training involves different directions in research. Another article on human sex trafficking states the need for microlevel research because of the various advantages both on the qualitative and quantitative level. "identifying the magnitude of trafficking within a measurable context ... documenting complexities in lived experiences -- and is better suited to formulating contextually appropriate policy and enforcement responses" (Weitzer, 2014, p. 6). For people to develop a firm understanding of what causes sex trafficking, the most likely victims, the way these victims are taken, stored, transferred, and delivered, will help researchers, medical professionals, and law enforcement create strategies that will reduce sex trafficking and treat the victims exposed to it.

Thanks to new research in other areas of sex trafficking, Domestic minor sex trafficking or DMST, has been observed. A 2013 article highlights the growing prevalence of DMST in the United States. Although the figures show 15,000 to 50,000 victims annually, actual numbers have been hard to ascertain based on several factors: "misidentification, conflicts between state and federal laws about age of consent and charges, perceptions of the victim, as well as lack of knowledge regarding the prevalence and dynamics of sex trafficking of minors" (Jordan, Patel, & Rapp, 2013, p. 356). Organized crime is another key feature to the growing problem of sex trafficking. These and other gaps in information need to be evaluated and approached on various level of research from macro to micro.

Apart from sex trafficking appearing as a domestic problem for the United States and other countries, the problem appears to have grown on a global scale with sex trafficking victims taken from one country, held in another, and delivered to a different country where they endure years of abuse and enslavement. A book highlighting international human sex trafficking shares the countries that often play host to these criminal activities. "The majority of victims come to Turkey from countries of the former Soviet Union" (Bernat, 2013, p. 56). The majority of the victims had primary and/or secondary education. They also were tricked into their situations with promise of employment in Turkey seeing Turkey as a better and easier option that Western countries due to proximity. They would get lured by the promise of a good job and then get taken against their will to become sex slaves.

It is not enough to evaluate the problem of human sex trafficking from just one lens or one perspective. As this literature review demonstrated, there are various ways to gain a better understanding of the problem. Children and adults are affected by sex trafficking. The problem is not just international, but domestic. The international level involves complex luring. Increasing awareness was mentioned briefly in the review, however, no theory was discussed. In the next session, agenda-setting theory will provide an understanding of how to increase awareness of human sex trafficking.

Theoretical Framework/Approach

People assume human sex trafficking exists only in third world countries. However, it exists in first world countries and is a growing and active industry in places like the United States. In a 2016 article, Bishop aimed to highlight the increasing prevalence of human sex trafficking in the United States and how it is being highlighted and discussed in the public media. "Agenda-setting theory served as the foundational theory to explain how the public interprets the voice of print media, how they adapt those opinions with their own, and why dependence on the news is crucial for issue awareness" (Bishop, 2016, p. 115). Agenda-setting theory describes the news media's ability to impact the salience of issues on public agenda. Simply put, if the news item receives frequent and prominent coverage, those viewing it will see it as a more important problem than without greater news coverage. If people are to increase awareness of human sex trafficking, it needs to receive greater news coverage and media participation.

Research Design/Methodology

The literature review contained a study that involved using survey for data collection. In order to study if increased news coverage will create among the public, a greater awareness of the problem of human sex trafficking, analysis of people who saw on the news stories on human sex trafficking will be interviewed to determine if seeing the issue on the news increase awareness and a desire to learn more about it. A sample will come from local potential participants of both male and female, aged 18-65. They will be interviewed first and then emailed a survey of yes or no questions and a 1-5 rating scale to identify whether they acknowledge the issue because it was on the news and if it increased their desire to learn more about it. Some limitations exist in that more new stations cover various stories and issues. However, by finding news clips and videos discussing human sex trafficking and then showing them to the participants, this may help reduce the limitation.

Findings/Results/Discussion

The evidence showed increased awareness of the problem as well as an increased desire to learn more, especially among female participants. Some of the news stories revealed women were taken based on their desire to look for better employment. The fear of being in that same situation was among the responses from the female participants in regards to their desire to learn more. What was also a motivator being the idea that human sex trafficking can occur in someone's neighborhood. The idea that people can commit such heinous crimes so close by created fear and stimulated a need for some of the participants to research and be more aware of what could happen in these situations. Future… [END OF PREVIEW]

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