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Mentor: Marta Caminero-Santangelo

Narratives of Victimization: The Disparity Between Stories of Sex Trafficking Survivors and U.S. Policy Implementation - Human trafficking is a monumental issue around the world. The United States Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 estimated that 700,000 people around the world are trafficked each year for the purpose of providing labor or sex. Since the late 1990s, legislation has been appearing globally to combat this phenomenon, with the TVPA being the first of its kind in the U.S. Since then, despite the broad definition of human trafficking victimization provided by the law, victim-survivors of sex trafficking are still being treated as “prostitutes” by society and are subsequently criminalized by antiquated laws. Certain survivors of commercial sexual exploitation that fall under the category of victim by the TVPA are perceived as complicit in their own exploitation by law enforcement, courts, and communities. The reasons for their perception as a guilty criminal instead of a victim-survivor are often due to various larger social issues, such as race and citizenship status. However, the factors that connect the narratives and serve as the focus of my project are agency, socioeconomic status, relationship to trafficker, sexuality, addiction, prior criminal record, and behavior as a youth.

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