Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Ambar Basu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Arthur P. Bochner, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Eric M. Eisenberg, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Donna M. Bickford, Ph.D.


human trafficking, membership negotiation, organizational coalition, organizational training, leadership, victim-centered approach


Over the past 20 years, human trafficking has gained international attention and resulted in the creation of anti-trafficking laws in the United States. Politicians, scholars, and organizations have called for more professional efforts against human trafficking and advocated for better education and awareness to identify victims and prosecute traffickers. Local law enforcement is recognized for its ideal position in communities to combat this crime. In 2011, North Carolina implemented a statewide human trafficking training program for law enforcement. This research study examines the communication constitution of law enforcement and the use of power through this training program and as officers work trafficking cases. I position this research study within the literature of interorganizational collaboration (ICO), high- reliability organizations (HROs), and the Four Flows Model – a communication constitution of organizations (CCO) theory. I then provide a comprehensive methodical review of this research, which includes organizational documents and ethnographic data collected over a two-year period. The research results are divided into two discussions of law enforcement’s organizational constitution. First, I discuss law enforcement’s communication constitution through its human trafficking opposition and traffickers’ power to control victims. Second, I discuss law enforcement’s communication constitution through roles and partnerships in anti- trafficking efforts and power through government sanctioned authority. Finally, I conclude with a review of the research, contributions to the field, and recommendations.