Media Representation of Human Trafficking in the United States, Great Britain, and Canada
37 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2010
Date Written: July 1, 2010
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. A content analysis of the coverage of human trafficking in six quality newspapers in the United States, Great Britain and Canada between 2000 and 2005 shows that only a limited range of viewpoints have been presented. The coverage mostly has conceptualized human trafficking in terms of sex trafficking, relied on official sources, 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. For the most part, the coverage varied little across countries.
Keywords: human trafficking, news media, journalism, foreign policy, framing, representation
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