Date of Graduation

Fall 2013


Master of Science in Applied Anthropology


Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

Margaret Buckner


human trafficking, sex-trafficking discourse, prostitution, sex-work, anti trafficking rhetoric, victimization

Subject Categories



Human trafficking research has noted the effects of local context on interpretations of trafficking protocol. In the Springfield community, religious and secular organizations and groups are currently shaping the human trafficking movement. With so many groups interested in human trafficking, there are many definitions of trafficking and perceptions of trafficking that are in conflict with each other. Human trafficking is routinely conflated with prostitution and other forms of sex-work, particularly by faith based groups. Sex trafficking dominates the trafficking discourse, likely as a result of the training sessions and conferences held by religious organizations that are focused primarily on sex trafficking. Anti human trafficking advocated in Springfield are inadvertently prioritizing real and perceived sex trafficking victims over labor trafficking victims. By discerning real victims of trafficking from perceived victims of trafficking, Springfield agencies can improve the availability of resources to people who have indeed been trafficked.


© Melissa Jo Sowers

Campus Only