Thesis, Model, and Hypothesis
Human trafficking is a problem which seems to be concealed and even ignored in the United States’ society because of a lack of the appropriate discussion of the issue at all levels (Haynes 2004, 221).
In spite of the fact that the U.S. government develops policies in order to address the issue at the federal level while connecting it with the problem of the illegal immigration, it is important to state that the human trafficking is a complex problem which should be more reflected in the government policies and public discussions because human trafficking is one of the illegal immigration’s causes, but the public is not properly informed about all the negative aspects associated with the issue.
From this perspective, it is important to answer the following question: How has human trafficking influenced and effected illegal immigration, and to what extent has public policy changed the way human trafficking is perceived? The appropriate model to present the possible answer to this question is the following one:
Human trafficking as influencing illegal immigration and addressed in the public polices Changes in the public’s perception of human trafficking
In light of that, the research aims to answer the question with the focus on the hypothesis that there is the obvious connection between the phenomenon of human trafficking associated with illegal immigration and public policies and changes in the public’s perception of human trafficking in the United States.
Research Design and Methodology
A research design selected to test the hypothesis and answer the research question is a survey which is based on the collection of the qualitative data.
Cases for Study
For this study, 40 participants aged between 22 and 52 years were selected to answer the interview questions related to their vision of the association between human trafficking and illegal immigration and related to their vision of the role of public policies in affecting human trafficking.
Thus, 40 male and female representatives of different racial and social groups living in different states of the country were selected with the help of the convenience sample method. The participants were contacted with the help of the information presented by their friends and provided the consent to participate in the survey.
The independent variable is the phenomenon of human trafficking which is discussed in association with illegal immigration and adopted public policies
The dependent variable is the public’s perception of human trafficking which is demonstrated in the context of new public policies. The perception of human trafficking is discussed with references to negative and positive visions presented in certain concepts.
Identification of Sources of Information
The data necessary for testing the hypothesis is the primary qualitative data presented in the form of the participants’ answers to the interview questions.
The focus is on the qualitative data presented in words because it is necessary to understand how the American public perceives the idea of human trafficking, how people relate it to the notion of the illegal immigration, and how people discuss it in the context of the public policies. The qualitative primary data is also important to understand how the public is informed about the aspects of human trafficking.
Creation of Survey Questions
The followed research design is based on using questions for the interview. The designed questionnaire to be used during the interview includes questions related to the public’s vision of the association between human trafficking and illegal immigration and related to the people’s vision of the role of public policies in affecting human trafficking.
The presented questions are open-ended in order to provide the participants with the opportunity to state their attitude to the phenomenon and convey the perception of the problem. The questions were generated as a result of reviewing the issues discussed in the literature on the topic. Much attention was paid to formulating questions about the people’s vision of the policies’ effectiveness and their discussion of such concepts as ‘a victim’, ‘prostitution’, ‘slavery’, and ‘social exploitation’.
The survey based on conducting the interview with participants to collect the data was selected in order to address the problem discussed in the research question. The participants from different states of the country were contacted with the help of the telephone, Skype, and e-mail. Participants were asked to give answers to the questions during the telephone interview or during the conversation with the help of Skype.
Those participants who could be contacted only with the help of e-mail were provided with the copy of interview questions, and they were asked to provide the written answers to the questions with the help of e-mail. The telephone interviews and Skype sessions were recorded in order to provide the researcher with the opportunity to collect, categorize, and analyze the received qualitative data effectively.
Analysis and Assessment of Findings
The collected primary data was properly documented and analyzed with the help of the qualitative content analysis. The next step was the categorization of the data into concepts in order to discuss how the public’s perception of human trafficking is influenced.
The data was also analyzed in order to state how one concept associated with the issue can influence the other one, associated with the side of the problem. The final stage of the qualitative analysis was the reporting of the data and organization it in the summary tables in order to present important findings in a proper and clear manner.
It was found that 25 participants were inclined to state that they were significantly influenced by the discussion of the problem of human trafficking, and their perception of the whole phenomenon can be described as “antagonistic” (Table 1). Furthermore, 5 participants stated that they knew little about the problem, and they could not discuss themselves as properly informed about the issue.
In addition, 3 participants noted that they were rather neutral in discussion the issue because they knew about the problem, but they did not see the necessity to discuss it openly. The answers of 7 participants can also be discussed as antagonistic, but the level of this attitude is low because these participants pointed at the necessity to discuss this problem at the federal level, rather than in the society (Table 1; Yen 2008, 653).
Table 1. The Public’s Awareness and Attitude in Relation to the Issue of Human Trafficking
From this perspective, it is possible to state that the interviewed persons are inclined to discuss the problem of human trafficking as something which should be discussed by the authorities, not by the public (Andreas 2002, 591). It is possible to assume that the cause of such a position is the lack of the information presented in the media.
Findings on the correlation between the public’s perception of human trafficking, illegal immigration, and public policies show that the Americans are inclined to discuss the phenomenon of human trafficking as associated with sexual exploitation and illegal immigration (Table 2).
Moreover, human trafficking is associated with the concepts of ‘victim’, ‘slavery’, and ‘immorality’. In contrast, the public policies, which are associated with human trafficking and illegal immigration, are discussed as promoting stability in the American society as the civil and democratic society (Feingold 2005, 26). Still, participants point at the lack of information related to the problem in the media, and they discuss themselves as non-informed and negatively affected by human trafficking (Table 2).
Table 2. Relationships and Concepts
|HUMAN TRAFFICKING||human trafficking increases in illegal immigration||Victim |
Lack of information
|PUBLIC POLICY||Public policy – decreases in human trafficking |
Public policy – decreases in illegal immigration
From this point, participants express the strong negative attitude to the idea of the human trafficking, and their vision is significantly affected by the adopted public policies discussed in the media. However, participants claim that they have not enough information to discuss the problem of human trafficking as catastrophic and as the threat to the American society (Chapkis 2003, 923). Still, the participants are inclined to associate human trafficking with the problem of illegal immigration because they often hear how these ideas are connected or linked in the media.
Human trafficking is a problem for the American society because people still demonstrate a lack of understanding the issue. However, it is possible to state that the U.S. government develops effective policies to address the issue at the federal level while discussing it in the context of the problem of illegal immigration.
The reason to point at this fact is the changes in the public’s perception. Thus, the public’s perception of the issue is changed significantly with references to the discussion of the policies’ effectiveness. The U.S. government’s policies to address illegal immigration are discussed as the symbol of the social stability.
Nevertheless, the public is not properly informed about all the aspects associated with the human trafficking, and people are inclined to discuss the problem as connected with the authorities’ activities, not as the social issue important to be discussed actively and openly. From this point, more attention should be paid to improving the discussion of the issue in the media because the Americans know little about the issue of human trafficking.
The perception of the public is influenced by the effectiveness of policies significantly, and this fact should be taken into consideration while discussing the appropriate ways to inform the American population about the threat of human trafficking properly. The extent to which the public policy changed the way human trafficking is perceived as significant, and this fact should be taken into account in the further researches and in the process of developing the policies related to the issue.
The hypothesis was proved as a result of the research. From this perspective, the thesis can be discussed as strong enough because it is supported with the findings of the conducted survey. Limitations of the research are in the impossibility to involve more participants in the survey, and this fact limits the researcher’s opportunities to generalize the results.
Andreas, Peter. 2002. “The Escalation of U.S. Immigration Control in the Post-NAFTA Era.” Political Science Quarterly 113, no. 4: 591-615.
Chapkis, Wendy. 2003. “Trafficking, Migration, and the Law: Protecting Innocents, Punishing Immigrants.” Gender & Society 17, no. 6: 923-37.
Feingold, David. 2005. “Human Trafficking.” Newsweek Interactive, LLC 150: 26-30.
Haynes, Dina Francesca. 2004. “Used, Abused, Arrested And Deported: Extending Immigration Benefits To Protect The Victims Of Trafficking And To Secure The Prosecution of Traffickers.” Human Rights Quarterly 26, no. 2: 221-72.
Yen, Iris. 2008. “Of Vice and Men: A New Approach to Eradicating Sex Trafficking by Redusing Male Demand through Educational Programs and Abolitionist Legislation.” The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 98, no. 2: 653-86.