Exploring Discourses on Human Trafficking in Hawai'i

Exploring Discourses on Human Trafficking in Hawai'i


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Human trafficking has garnered the attention of policymakers, the media, and academics for years. However, controversy, competing discourses, and a lack of conceptual clarity often complicate efforts to prevent and address the problem of human trafficking in local contexts throughout the U.S. Interviews with 13 local service providers on the islands of O‘ahu, Maui, and Hawai‘i were conducted to explore discourses on human trafficking in the Islands. Critical discourse analytical methodologies were used to: 1) map discourse strands, 2) understand how human trafficking is situated in a context of other phenomena, and 3) explore how key social actors were characterized. Results indicated that participant discourses were both idiosyncratically constructed according to individual preference, experience, and values, and were influenced by prevailing cultural and societal discourses. The implications of these discourses, in terms of their ability to hinder or aid socially just understandings of the issue, are discussed.

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University of Hawai'i at Manoa


Social sciences, Psychology, Critical discourse analysis, Human trafficking, Labor abuse, Labor trafficking, Prostitution, Sex trafficking

Exploring Discourses on Human Trafficking in Hawai'i