Human Trafficking In The U.S.: Implementing Federal And State Policy Analysis, Network Analysis, Policy Diffusion, And Multivariate Data Analytics To Investigate Modern Day Slavery



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This dissertation addresses the important topic of human trafficking in America. Trafficking is a human rights violation, also known as “modern-day slavery,” where victims suffer force, fraud, or coercion to engage in forced labor, forced marriage, sex trafficking, human organ harvesting, etc. This work analyzes the anti-trafficking policy at a State and Federal level for the past 20 years. Upon conducting policy analysis and diffusion modeling across all 50 States, it evaluates all the Federal bills proposed since 2000. Chapter 1 explores the sociopolitical impact of trafficking. Multivariate data analytics show that race and gender minorities and underserved social populations are more likely trafficking victims. The role of gender, race and socioeconomic status are analyzed: (a) in the likelihood of a person becoming a trafficking victim and (b) in the trafficking approach and relationship established between victims and traffickers. Chapter 2 examines the State Anti-Trafficking Policy adoption from 2000 to 2021. Policy diffusion and history event modeling investigate which factors impact the diffusion of laws across all 50 States. It evaluates the impact of political ideology, geographical adjacency among States, and high trafficking rates at a state level. It develops a robust State policy taxonomy to explore which States have developed comprehensive laws and which States still need to enhance their policies. Chapter 3 presents policy analysis conducted at a Federal level. Based on a dataset of all anti-trafficking Federal laws from 2003 to date, the patterns of anti-trafficking policies are investigated to determine which factors impact the likelihood of a bill becoming law. The paper examines policymakers’ (a) partisanship, (b) gender, (c) race, (d) political seniority, (e) high trafficking rates in their States, and (f) the number of bill cosponsors.

Chapter 4 comprises the concluding remarks, findings, and recommendations. The findings of this dissertation will help gain a better understanding of human trafficking in the U.S. and the current policies at the Federal and State level. They will also identify patterns among the traffickers and victims, any policy gaps at a State or Federal level, and trends in the policymaking process will provide helpful information to combat trafficking.

Hopefully, this dissertation will help policymakers, advocates, and communities to fight trafficking. Most importantly, may this work help victims and survivors.



Human Trafficking