Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Policy & Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Judith B. Bradford


The U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) was the first piece of legislation designed to combat human trafficking on all fronts, both domestically and internationally, and was upheld as a model worldwide. Although human trafficking as an issue seemed to appear out of nowhere onto the congressional agenda and a number of heated debates ensued during .the making of the TVPA, the legislation passed quickly by an unlikely coalition of players. The purpose of this dissertation research was to gain insight into the forces which led to the making of the TVPA through the lens of the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) model of the policy making process.The ACF's focus on belief systems in order to increase one's understanding of the policy making process makes it an interesting model to use to examine policy making in arenas dominated by issues that involve deeply held beliefs. The human trafficking policy subsystem is one such arena, in which beliefs and attitudes regarding sexual behavior, prostitution, morality, sexual deviancy, immigrants and immigration policy, feminist issues, and public health concerns come into play. In addition, human trafficking, widely acknowledged as a public evil, is a valence issue. This dissertation research also serves as a case to examine how the ACF "holds up" as a model used to examine valence issues.This study was a dual-method study in which in-depth interviews of twenty-one key policy players involved in the making of the legislation and a content analysis of congressional hearings related to human trafficking during the 1995-2000 time period were used as methodologies.Findings reveal that advocacy coalitions did exist within the human trafficking policysubsystem and that the primary coalition responsible for the focus on human trafficking as a legislative issue was a left/right coalition made up of radical feminists, conservativeChristians, and human rights organization representatives, which was built from a pre-existing coalition. With the support of my research findings, I pose the question: was the TVPA created to protect victims of human trafficking or was the issue of human trafficking used to push a greater moral agenda including abolishing prostitution worldwide?


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Date of Submission

June 2008