Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Constructing Agency in Narrative and Public Discourse: A Study of Professionals Who Work with Survivors of Sex Trafficking
by Ledsam, Hilary, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2018, 106; 10978046
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis examines the discourses and practices of professionals who work with survivors of sex trafficking. Professionals include social workers, therapists, and nonprofit workers. Ethnographic fieldwork was conducted through participant observation at public meetings that were held to counter human trafficking, by shadowing a professional and through volunteer work with a nonprofit organization that houses adolescent female survivors of sex trafficking. Ethnographic interviews were conducted with eight different professionals. Interview and fieldwork data were analyzed by identifying the discourses professionals use when discussing their work with survivors. Additionally, professionals’ discourses were analyzed to understand the ways in which human trafficking is referenced and characterized in the social and political realm. This thesis exposes the ways professionals discursively construct their experiences working with survivors and how they position themselves in their attempts to help others. The analysis also considers the ways in which professionals view the resources available for survivor reintegration and the role that these resources play in combating human trafficking. Findings include areas of tension with language use amongst the counter-trafficking movement and the different models of agency and self-positioning that professionals take when working with their clients. Additionally, the analysis reveals different perspectives on the process of a survivor’s reintegration into society and the resources that are needed to achieve this process. Lastly, this research contributes to combatting the issue of human trafficking as it illuminates professionals’ challenges and experiences when assisting survivors of sex trafficking in the process of survivors’ reintegration into society.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Klein, Wendy
Commitee: Jaffe, Alexandra, Loewe, Ronald
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 58/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Social research, Sociology
Keywords: Anthropology, Caretakers, Discourse, Sex trafficking
Publication Number: 10978046
ISBN: 978-0-438-89345-0
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