Attitudes about Human Trafficking

  • Citation: Cunningham, Katherine C., and Lisa DeMarni Cromer. “Attitudes about Human Trafficking.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 31, no. 2 (2014): 228–44.
    • Topics:
    • Human Rights
    • Keywords:
    • sex trafficking
    • sexual exploitation
    • sexual trauma
    • victim blame
    • cultural contexts
    • abuse
    • child abuse
    • rape culture
    • gender violence
    • prostitution
    • sex work

Human trafficking is believed to oppress millions of people worldwide. Despite increased media attention and public awareness campaigns in recent years, no empirical research has examined public attitudes about human trafficking. The present study examined gender, sexual trauma history, and attitudes about human trafficking as they related to belief of a sex-trafficking scenario and willingness to blame the victim for the situation. Undergraduate students (N = 409) at a large private university in the Northeastern United States completed measures in which they responded to a vignette portraying sex trafficking in the United States. Participants also reported their personal trauma history and completed a Human Trafficking Myths Scale. Results indicated that gender and human trafficking myth acceptance, but not sexual trauma history, were significantly related to participants’ belief of the sex-trafficking scenario and their perception of the victim’s responsibility. Potential implications and directions for future research are discussed.