Date of Award

Spring 6-19-2015

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of arts (BA)


Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Christine Stevens


Sex trafficking has become one of the world’s fastest growing crimes, affecting nearly every single country on our globe, and is inevitably linked to prostitution. Although prostitution has been criminalized in the United States for decades, recent literature has shown that this type of prostitution has little effect on aiding the overall sweeping and devastating effects of sex trafficking on its victim’s. The current research therefore uses interviews from experts and individuals with experience in prostitution and sex trafficking to understand—from the eyes of those with actual experience—the realistic role that criminalized prostitution plays in the lives of sex trafficking victims. Content analysis of the interviews was used to look for themes in participants’ responses; themes included the disadvantages of criminalized prostitution, stigmatization, and structural and policy issues associated with such. Results therefore indicted that the policy model of criminalized prostitution is clearly unable to satisfy the needs of sex trafficking victims who are forced into prostitution in the United States; thus, further measures are necessary to adequately address such a widespread and global issue. Participants’ responses also yielded additional insight as to how else society can better fight sex trafficking, such as a more effective education of values among our youth.


This is a Bamford Fellowship in Global Engagement (BFGE) undergraduate research thesis. The BFGE is intended to provide a guided research experience for Global Honors students; enhance undergraduate research in global issues; promote global engagement, citizenship, and leadership; and enhance relevance between academic research and community service. Find out more on the Bamford Fellowship webpage.