Media Representation of Human Trafficking in Three Liberal Democracies, 2000-2005
Posted: 4 Jul 2009
Date Written: June 3, 2009
This study examines whether the media have represented a broad range of ideas in their coverage of human trafficking. Theories of media framing and media coverage of foreign policy suggest that viewpoints on trafficking will have been voiced mostly by official and other establishment sources. From a content analysis of the coverage of human trafficking in six quality newspapers in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, I show that only a limited range of viewpoints have been presented. The coverage has presented the view that criminal activity has been the primary cause for trafficking and that the main way to combat trafficking is to build on current policy. While the coverage has served to legitimize the views and decisions of established policymakers, it also has marginalized alternative viewpoints and criticism of government policy. The American media are somewhat less likely to cover the official view, while the British and Canadian media are more likely to cover both the official view and alternative news.
Keywords: human trafficking, media, journalism, foreign policy, framing, representation
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation