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Research Article Assignment


The article, Hotspot trafficking: a theoretical discussion of the potential problems

associated with targeted policing and the eradication of sex trafficking in the United States is

published in the Journal of Contemporary Justice Review. It is authored by Erin Heil and Andrea

Nichols. It was published on 19 June 2014.

A lot of sensitization has been conducted in regards to sex trafficking across the world.

This has been motivated by the increased cases of human and sex trafficking. Human trafficking

can be termed as the use of force, coercion or fraud to transport a person across international

borders or within countries with the aim of exploiting them for sex or labor. Sex trafficking is

akin to human trafficking only that the former is done with the reason of having sex. Sex

trafficking in the United States has become an issue of focus (Guerett and Bowers 1332). In, the

1990s, it led to the culmination of the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA)

which was signed into law on October 16, 2000. This was aimed at combating the illegal activity

of sex trafficking. It made it possible for the culprits to be prosecuted and the victims to be

granted justice. Further legislation was put to strengthen the US anti-trafficking initiatives.

1) Statement of the Problem

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Sex trafficking is a significant concern in the world. The author investigates the issue of

sex trafficking which is boosted by online advertising strategies. The author assesses the issue of

human trafficking since it has impacted hundreds of thousands of people across the globe and it

is a crime that violates the rights of children and women.

2) Social Theory

The article makes use of the displacement theory and makes indirect reference to the

Marxism Feminism theory. Crime displacement has been an issue of concern since the 1970s.

The theory has been discussed in the realms of opportunity and rational choice theories, as well

as crime prevention theories. The article discusses some primary forms of the displacement

theory namely tactic, place, timer, target and crime type.

The author uses Marxist Feminism theory to understand sex trafficking better. This theory

is grounded on the beliefs of Karl Marx who believed that groups within a social system are

always in conflict with one another in power. The way to solve such disputes is through the

redistribution of power, labor, and goods. Changes in the society spearheaded by the desire to

acquire power and goods create capitalism. There are those who own the means of production

and are referred to as bourgeoisie and those that sell their labor to make a living and are seen as

the proletariat.


There has been extensive research on the issue of human trafficking. Many experts on

human trafficking assert that the most significant number of victims are women and children.

Despite this, there is still a lot that has to be done as regards human trafficking. Research

conducted does not address some issues such as the efficacy of rescue and restore programs, the
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trafficking trajectories, the effectiveness of the government anti-trafficking policies, and the

efficiency of rescue and restore programs. The provision of such information would be vital in

helping decision makers craft effective policies, and service providers develop linguistically

appropriate, culturally sensitive and efficacious programs, as well as law enforcement, enhance

their ability to identify as well as protect victims and prosecute traffickers.

Farrell et al. (15) reviewed the literature on human trafficking in North America in a bid

to find the researchers and funders on trafficking in human beings. They found that there was not

sufficient data as well as transparency methodology for its validation. The US Government

Accountability Office conducted a study which revealed that the estimates on the number of

trafficked victims across international borders could not be relied on. This was due to observable

methodological weaknesses, numerical discrepancies and gaps in data. Guerette and Bowers

looked at the problems which arose as a result of lack of standard, scholarly, and precise

definition of trafficking.


1) Variables

This article uses sex trafficking as the independent variable and the online advertising as

the dependent variable.

2) Hypothesis or Research Question

The study was guided by three research questions viz;

i. How do the women become involved in sex trafficking?

ii. How does online advertising influence the levels of sex trafficking in the United States?
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3) Sample

The author used a sample size of probably 6-10 participants although this is not explicitly

expressed and several online sex trafficking sites such as Craigslist and Backpage. This was a

small number, but the author aimed at collecting accurate, beneficial information for the

qualitative study.

4) Research Method

The author derived data from secondary sources. She used data from her previous works

and other sources. She also searched for relevant data from the internet using sex trafficking as

the keyword. She also visited the websites on human trafficking created by U.S. and state

government agencies and antitrafficking NGOs.

The information gathered by the author was intended to help to understand the

experiences better if the victims, their attitudes, lifestyles, and ways to assist them. The author

aimed at collecting beneficial information for the qualitative study. The author targeted the

individuals who had identified themselves as trafficking victims. The participants targeted were

those that were U.S. citizens, women and aged over 18, and could speak English and have been

rescued from trafficking and living in safe havens for victims.

The authors' research was a qualitative study with snowball sampling technique. The

collection of data involved interviewing participants for a period ranging from forty-five minutes

to an hour with a set of the interview guide.

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1) Conclusions

The article is critical on the theoretical axiom that law enforcement officials focus on

their policing techniques in targeted areas. Sex trafficking is significant issues of concern, and

various government strategies are trying to deal with it. Some of the factors that lead to sex

trafficking are mainly the search for self-esteem and poverty (Guerett and Bowers 1366). The

bourgeoisie controls the market and reaps benefits from the proletariat who are the victims. The

article supports the hypothesis that many of the victims of sex trafficking are women who are

from poor and minority backgrounds.

2) Limitations

The limitation that the author highlights is that the research did not touch so much on

factual data but generalizations. The other limitation was that there was a limited number to

obtain information form. Many of many victims are willing to give information on sex

trafficking. This study should target a small geographical region such as s single town or city to

be able to gather enough information and avoid generalizations.

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Work Cited

Farrell, A., McDevitt, J., Pfeffer, R., Fahy, S., Owens, C., Dank, M., & Adams, W. Identifying

challenges to improve the investigation and prosecution of state and local human

trafficking cases. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice: 2012


Guerette, Rob T. and Katie J. Bowers. "Assessing the Extent of Crime Displacement and

Diffusion of Benefits: A Review of Situational Crime Prevention Evaluations [Article]."

Criminology, no. 4, 2009, p. 1331-1368

Link to the article: http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?