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The Dominant Human Trafficking Paradigm and Economic Elite Interests
AdvisorStewart, Mary W.
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Human trafficking has become a highly politicized and popular social issue in recent decades within the United States. However, the dominant discourse surrounding the issue has been become a hyperbolic and sensationalized account of the issue, in which important dimensions are omitted, complicated, and, in some cases, distorted. Also, given the clandestine nature of human trafficking, an absence of clear and accurate statistics has allowed this damaged discourse to dominate the common discourse.. This dominant discourse has been referred to as the dominant human trafficking paradigm (DHTP). The DHTP narrative has been documented and discussed by a number of critical scholars, but never in terms of how it protects the interests of the economic elite. The DHTP protects these interests through ignoring structural issues which drive human trafficking, which are exacerbated by global inequality largely driven by globalization and neoliberal policy, failing to make the important connection between migrant and trafficked labor, and over-emphasizing the occurrence of sex trafficking. Accordingly, using a grounded theory based level of analysis, my research observes the different types of human trafficking coverage between corporately owned, mainstream media sources (Fox and CNN), which are arguably dominated by economic elite interests, and publicly (NPR) or independently (AlterNet) owned media sources which are far less dominated by the interests of the economic elite. Research findings showed that both of the corporately owned, mainstream media sources were more committed to covering stories within the DHTP than both the public and independently owned sources for articles published in 2013.