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International News Coverage of Human Trafficking Arrests and Prosecutions: A Content Analytic Study
Unformatted Document Text:  in cases evaluated by this study occurred in the United States (39%, n=60). Forty-two per cent of those (n=24) were determined by police to be human smuggling cases. Most of these involved individuals from Mexico and Central America who were travelling illegally to the United States in order to obtain employment. The geographical proximity of Mexico and Central America to the United States meant that the majority of the arrests were made in Florida and the southwestern states (Arizona, California, Nevada and Texas), with additional arrest made at sea by the Coast Guard. Immigration officials made the vast majority of these arrests. This is an important factor in the human trafficking debate, because it is possible that immigration officials are more focused on apprehending illegal immigrants than detecting individuals trafficked against their will. Although the United States has created an immigration unit (ICE – Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement) to deal with trafficking-related offences (“Increase in arrests strains”, 2007), John P. Torres, the director of ICE indicated in a Washington Post interview on January 10, 2008 that the majority of arrests (26,500 a day in 2007) occurring in the United States deal with illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America. It is this factor that suggests that individuals trafficked for exploitation may go undetected because American immigration officials and border patrol agents have a higher interest in border security and illegal immigrants. Human traffickers who recruit and transport individuals for exploitative purposes often do not have to hide their cargo. This is a result of the nature of the trafficking event: usually, individuals are fraudulently recruited with 69

Authors: Denton, Erin.
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in cases evaluated by this study occurred in the United States (39%, n=60). 
Forty-two per cent of those (n=24) were determined by police to be human 
smuggling cases.  Most of these involved individuals from Mexico and Central 
America who were travelling illegally to the United States in order to obtain 
employment.  
The geographical proximity of Mexico and Central America to the United 
States meant that the majority of the arrests were made in Florida and the 
southwestern states (Arizona, California, Nevada and Texas), with additional 
arrest made at sea by the Coast Guard.  Immigration officials made the vast 
majority of these arrests.  This is an important factor in the human trafficking 
debate, because it is possible that immigration officials are more focused on 
apprehending illegal immigrants than detecting individuals trafficked against their 
will.  Although the United States has created an immigration unit (ICE – 
Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement) to deal with trafficking-related offences 
(“Increase in arrests strains”, 2007), John P. Torres, the director of ICE indicated 
in a Washington Post interview on January 10, 2008 that the majority of arrests 
(26,500 a day in 2007) occurring in the United States deal with illegal immigrants 
from Mexico and Central America. It is this factor that suggests that individuals 
trafficked for exploitation may go undetected because American immigration 
officials and border patrol agents have a higher interest in border security and 
illegal immigrants.  Human traffickers who recruit and transport individuals for 
exploitative purposes often do not have to hide their cargo.  This is a result of the 
nature of the trafficking event: usually, individuals are fraudulently recruited with 
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