The construction of human trafficking as a social problem; A case study of norway

Strom, Ida F.
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Trafficking of human beings for prostitution and slave labor has along with smuggling of immigrants, become one of the fastest growing worldwide problems in recent years (UN 2007). The U.S Department of State estimates that about 600, 000 to 800,000 people are trafficked annually across national borders (U.S Department of State 2004). According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), 80% of the victims, mostly women and young girls, are forced into prostitution, while the remaining 20%, often boys or men, are faced with forced labor. The total market value of illicit human trafficking is estimated to be at $ 32 billion, whereas 10 billion is estimated to be derived from the initial "sale" of human beings and the rest from earned profits from goods and services produced by the victims of human trafficking (Hoffman 2007). The UN defines human trafficking as a global problem and characterizes it as the modem- day slavery of our time. No country is immune whether as a country of origin, as a destination country or as a transit country for victims of human trafficking (UN Trafficking in Person Report 2006). These facts illustrate the extent and the severity of human trafficking in today's society and how it is considered one of the most important issues on the international political agenda (Skilbrei and Polyakova 2006). However, Human trafficking has existed for centuries (Kempadoo 2005, Joshi 2002, Bales1999, Coontz and Griebel 2004), so why did it just recently get defined and recognized as a social problem? What makes a society define a condition as a social problem? This research seeks to explain how human trafficking to the sex industry developed to be a social problem by using social constructionist theories. Norway will be used as a case study to investigate this and to test whether or not the social constructionist theories receive empirical support.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2008.
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