Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Beatriz Padilla, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Will Tyson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Heide Castaneda, Ph.D.


colorblind racism, disproportionality, intersectionality, semantic moves


How race shapes the lenses that anti-trafficking advocates use to promote client interests is critical to the successful reintegration of survivors and their access to the right resources. Any threat to rapport building can have adverse effects to the recovery of survivors. Cultural oppression (or the denial of racism) when considering micro-level interactions of anti-trafficking advocates and survivors, not only compounds victims’ trauma but creates the reality where black and brown bodies continue to be violated and victimized.

Due to these nuanced tensions at the intersection of race and gender, my thesis research examines whether and to what extent anti-trafficking advocates view race and racism as shaping human trafficking trends and how they perceive and treat victims of color by asking: 1.) How, and to what extent, do human trafficking advocates acknowledge and dismiss that race and racism are important factors that shape human trafficking?

Depending on their profession and their direct access to trafficking survivors or general awareness, all respondents dismissed race as a central or even a tangential factor perpetuating trends in exploitation. Pursuing this qualitative study with a critical perspective is vital and critical race theory provides the framework where race is centered as the creation, justification, and promotion of inequalities within the human trafficking context. Human trafficking advocates are not immune to advancing stereotypes and decentering race within their well-intentioned fight against human trafficking. Investigating how advocates negotiate race and racism within their work and how that, in turn, is actualized via semantic strategies, highlights why this research is indispensable.

Included in

Sociology Commons