SPREADING AWARENESS OF SEX TRAFFICKING IN PENNSYLVANIA AND ONLINE

Open Access
Author:
Callaghan, Daniella F
Area of Honors:
Security and Risk Analysis
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Edward J. Glantz, Thesis Supervisor
  • Edward J. Glantz, Honors Advisor
  • Peter Kent Forster, Faculty Reader
Keywords:
  • Sex Trafficking
  • Pennsylvania
  • Backpage.com
Abstract:
This research investigates human trafficking, with a particular focus on sex trafficking in Pennsylvania. This research presents how: Trafficking is a profitable and popular industry; Pennsylvania is a source, destination, and pass-through trafficking state; legislation and law enforcement are affecting the industry; the internet provides a platform which allows sex trafficking to flourish; and Backpage.com was a classified advertisement website known for facilitating sex trafficking. This research addresses the following questions: (1) why was Backpage.com so successful in facilitating child sex trafficking; (2) how has the impact of the internet allowed sex trafficking to flourish; and (3) how can the lessons learned from Backpage.com be used to spread awareness, improve legislation, and reduce the occurrence of trafficking in Pennsylvania? This research was completed through text reviews of literature as well as text analysis of online advertisements from Backpage.com. The results show how and why Backpage.com was effective at evading law enforcement and utilizing the law in their favor to continue illegal operations. The conclusion is that legislation efforts, law enforcement, and the local community need to work together to bring awareness to the issue and fight trafficking worldwide and in Pennsylvania.