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International News Coverage of Human Trafficking Arrests and Prosecutions: A Content Analytic Study
Unformatted Document Text:  exist under the guise of a cause pertaining to assisting victims of human trafficking. In such cases the reshaping of definitions pertaining to human trafficking can result in misunderstandings regarding the propensity and categories of human trafficking. It is likely that cases of human smuggling are labelled human trafficking and this denies the trafficked individual’s agency in making a decision to illegally migrate. Notwithstanding these disagreements, is the important point that the current, relatively accepted definition of trafficking describes a wide range of activities (Bruckert & Parent, 2002; O’Connell, Davidson & Donelan in Laczko & Gramegna, 2003). The trafficking of humans is not one single activity. There are individuals who recruit, transport, and sell, as well as others facilitating each activity as it unfolds. As such, any single definition will fall short because the sheer magnitude of the trafficking act cannot be captured with one single definition. While a common definition of what does, and does not, constitute a trafficking offence would be useful for actively combating the trafficking of humans, unless an international legal court is created to deal with human trafficking offences, it is highly unlikely that an international consensus will be reached. Definitional issues regarding human trafficking abound and will receive no further attention for the purpose of this paper because, as shown over the course of a century, debating definitions does little to uncover the intricacies of human trafficking. However, definitional debates are habitually present in the quandary of active worldwide governmental participation seeking to prevent human 6

Authors: Denton, Erin.
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exist under the guise of a cause pertaining to assisting victims of human 
trafficking.  In such cases the reshaping of definitions pertaining to human 
trafficking can result in misunderstandings regarding the propensity and 
categories of human trafficking.  It is likely that cases of human smuggling are 
labelled human trafficking and this denies the trafficked individual’s agency in 
making a decision to illegally migrate.
Notwithstanding these disagreements, is the important point that the 
current, relatively accepted definition of trafficking describes a wide range of 
activities (Bruckert & Parent, 2002; O’Connell, Davidson & Donelan in Laczko & 
Gramegna, 2003).  The trafficking of humans is not one single activity.  There are 
individuals who recruit, transport, and sell, as well as others facilitating each 
activity as it unfolds.  As such, any single definition will fall short because the 
sheer magnitude of the trafficking act cannot be captured with one single 
definition. While a common definition of what does, and does not, constitute a 
trafficking offence would be useful for actively combating the trafficking of 
humans, unless an international legal court is created to deal with human 
trafficking offences, it is highly unlikely that an international consensus will be 
reached. 
Definitional issues regarding human trafficking abound and will receive no 
further attention for the purpose of this paper because, as shown over the course 
of a century, debating definitions does little to uncover the intricacies of human 
trafficking.  However, definitional debates are habitually present in the quandary 
of active worldwide governmental participation seeking to prevent human 
6


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