The U.S. Congress’ Political Construction of “Child Trafficking” as a Global Social Problem, 1999-2013




Bay, Amanda

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This thesis describes how “child trafficking” has only recently been constructed as a global social problem by the U.S. Congress (with strong influences from intergovernmental organizations), even though it has been around for decades. This thesis is not an attempt to provide a solution to eradicating this problem, but rather it is an attempt to provide insight into what was occurring during 1999 and 2013 that caused the U.S. Congress to keep changing its perspective on child trafficking and its relevance. It also discusses the need for social institutions to recognize that traffickers are not the only actors that permit the progression of the trafficking trade, but rather that there are other contributing factors that have not been recognized as facilitators of this practice. In the process of researching and writing this thesis, I have used a social constructionist approach to analyze Congressional hearings, Government bills and reports, international organizations’ publications, and scholarly research that have helped me to better understand how the U.S. Congress politically constructed “child trafficking” as a specifically “global” social problem between the years of 1999 and 2013.



Child trafficking, Political construction, Congress, Social problem