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Review of Spanish-Language Literature From Latin America on Sex Trafficking

NCJ Number
Sheldon X. Zhang
Date Published
February 2011
111 pages
This compilation and examination of publications on sex trafficking by Latin American researchers categorizes the literature by research orientation (empirical versus nonempirical), assesses research methods and designs, summarizes main findings and policy implications, and creates an annotated bibliography that enables English-speaking researchers to access this literature.
The 72 publications found showed a steady increase in volume since 2000, peaked around 2006 and 2007, and then decreased sharply. Most of the literature was produced by nongovernment organizations (61 percent of the total). Approximately 12 percent of the literature was found in academic journals. Analysts from international or nongovernment organizations composed the largest group of authors (42 percent). Nearly two-thirds of the literature addressed the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Many authors focused on the causes of trafficking, forms of recruitment, and the modus operandi of trafficking activities. Many authors identified multiple factors as causes of sex trafficking, including poverty, gender inequality, patriarchal culture, inadequate employment opportunities, education, drug addiction, and various forms of violence. The most striking finding in the study was the few scholarly articles found. This suggests that the traditional Spanish-language academic community has paid little attention to this global problem. Possible explanations for this are offered. The literature search included all publicly available media, including computerized databases, library collections, and online postings by government and nongovernment agencies. The criteria for inclusion in the literature review were broad, including any published or unpublished papers, articles, and books. Forms of publications included ethnographies, case studies, court cases, policy analysis, surveys, field studies, and evaluations. Regarding subject parameters, any aspect of sex trafficking was included. Appended government agencies searched in Latin America, Spanish-language trafficking literature coding form and variable names, the roster of located literature on sex trafficking research, and the annotated bibliography