Graduation Date

Fall 2017

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Applied Anthropology

Committee Chair Name

Mary Scoggin

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Marissa Ramsier

Third Committee Member Name

Rebecca Robertson


There are multiple vulnerabilities that increase an individual’s susceptibility to sex trafficking. These vulnerabilities include; poverty, fragile family or social circle, drug addiction, homelessness and previous physical or sexual abuse. Sex trafficking is considered by many scholars as modern-day slavery and is associated with horrific human rights violations. This is an ethnographic study, conducted to better understand which methods are most effective to minimize the impact of these vulnerabilities to sex trafficking. Participant observation was utilized over a two-month period, evaluating two nonprofits in Humboldt County, California. Data was gathered through observing, listening and recording events throughout the research. Formal and informal interviews were also utilized with relevant participants. Findings show that education on the topic was the most commonly used method by both nonprofits. A particular method of education utilized was contemporary slave narratives, which seemed to have a powerful impact on audiences. Another effective method found within this study was providing housing for the homeless. Although the nonprofit using this method is not aiming to fight sex trafficking vulnerabilities directly, the outcome of providing the homeless with homes effectively combats vulnerabilities to sex trafficking.

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