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More Than a Crime: Human Trafficking as Human (In)Security


  • [Corrections added January 9, 2015 after original online publication. Grammatical changes have been made to this article to improve clarity.]


Using the case of anti-trafficking policy in Ohio, this paper examines the emergence and impact of localized policy efforts against the global phenomenon of human trafficking. We argue that the manner in which human trafficking is characterized by international and national policymakers has engendered flawed policy approaches. Specifically, we find that local actors have replicated wholesale the discourse and policy frames developed and adopted by international organizations and national governments. While well intentioned, current characterizations and the subsequent policies have uniformly failed to stem the time of human trafficking even at the local level. Therefore, we examine the human security approach as an alternative means to describe and frame human trafficking and suggest that such a political discourse has the potential to prescribe more effectual policies against human trafficking.