Date of Award


Call Number

LD3175.H6 Z45 2016

Document Type

USM Access Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Wendy Chapkis, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Lisa Walker, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Lorrayne Carroll, Ph.D.


sex trafficking, anti-sex-trafficking advocacy, carceral strategies, Southern Maine, structural inequalities, victim empowerment


Anti‐sex­‐trafficking advocacy has recently seen a shift in approach from arresting anyone selling sex to viewing all who sell sex as victims of sex trafficking and instead shift focus to arresting Johns purchasing sex and traffickers forcing others to sell sex. This is due in part to an expansion in advocates’ definitions of sex trafficking. This new focus leaves those forced to sell sex only with the choices of passive victim or deviant criminal. Furthermore, this new shift focuses resources on increasing incarceration of Johns and traffickers while ignoring the structural inequalities that can lead some to be vulnerable to being forced to sell sex. The following thesis highlights the problems and concerns regarding the continued focus on carceral methodologies and argues for a new shift away from carceral strategies to focus on victim empowerment and challenging the social and economic inequalities that lead to the problem of sex trafficking.


This thesis is restricted to USM access only.