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Trafficking in Meaning: Law, Victims, and the State

NCJ Number
Alicia W. Peters
Date Published
March 2011
273 pages
This report examines anti-trafficking laws and policies in the United States.

This report is a dissertation that focuses on the diverse meanings and consequences of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, for criminal justice authorities, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and victims of trafficking in the New York metro area. The author contends that the TVPA contains an especially complicated and layered definition of trafficking, reflecting the diverse constituencies that lobbied for extremely different versions of the bill. This research examines distinctions between the TVPA as written, as understood by the various actors for whom it has relevance, and as actually implemented; and it examines how beliefs about trafficking and sex intersect with these three angles of inquiry. The report is divided into seven chapters. Chapter 1: Introduction presents the goals of the study and provides a literature review and theoretical overview of the law. Chapter 2: Methodology describes the data collection and analysis used in this study. Chapter 3: Trafficking on the Books: The Trafficking Victims Protection Act as Cultural Text and Chapter 4: Thinking, Envisioning, and Interpreting Trafficking: Assigning Meaning to Victims and Crime, examine the different definitions of trafficking in the law. Chapter 5: Incorporating Survivor Voices presents survivor profiles. Chapter 6: Intersections on the Ground: Implementing Anti-Trafficking Law and Policy, examines the law in action, and Chapter 7 presents the conclusions reached by the author in this research. Figures, references