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International News Coverage of Human Trafficking Arrests and Prosecutions: A Content Analytic Study
Unformatted Document Text:  sustain a living in the country of destination. 35 Fagan’s (1994) research on female participation in drug trafficking suggests that women from lower socioeconomic communities become involved in illicit economies because income from illegal activities is often higher than that of legal activities. Considering Fagan’s notion that “legal income from irregular hourly jobs (waitressing, delivery work, clerical work) offer low wages that only marginally meet the demands of women with family responsibility and who aspire to the material aspects of conventional lifestyles” (p. 16), women may immigrate to developed countries and involve themselves in prostitution after failing to acquire a steady income from the legal economy. Bourgois (1989) contends that minorities experience racial humiliation and harassment in legal work, which adds to the incentive for participation in illegal economies. This suggests that individuals who immigrate, legally or illegally, from a foreign country may suffer when we consider the level of discrimination that exists against minorities in developed countries. If Bourgois is correct, it is tenable that immigrants may participate in illicit economies in order to secure a reasonable income. Ruminating the legitimacy of Fagan and Bourgois’ claims, questioning the validity of a trafficking claim may appear insensitive but is not unfounded. 35 One article analyzed for this study involved an Indonesian woman who contacted an Australian man to receive assistance in migrating to Australia (Wray, 2007). She informed law enforcement that she suggested that she could prostitute herself in order to repay the man. Issues over the amount of money earned versus what the woman received ($11,000AUS vs. $3300AUS) resulted in charges of human trafficking. The Indonesian woman and Australian man exchanged seven emails where the details of the transaction were identified and agreed upon. The woman also claimed that she did not receive the days off that she felt had been outlined in the agreement. 73

Authors: Denton, Erin.
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sustain a living in the country of destination.
Fagan’s (1994) research on female 
participation in drug trafficking suggests that women from lower socioeconomic 
communities become involved in illicit economies because income from illegal 
activities is often higher than that of legal activities.  Considering Fagan’s notion 
that “legal income from irregular hourly jobs (waitressing, delivery work, clerical 
work) offer low wages that only marginally meet the demands of women with 
family responsibility and who aspire to the material aspects of conventional 
lifestyles” (p. 16), women may immigrate to developed countries and involve 
themselves in prostitution after failing to acquire a steady income from the legal 
economy.
Bourgois (1989) contends that minorities experience racial humiliation and 
harassment in legal work, which adds to the incentive for participation in illegal 
economies.  This suggests that individuals who immigrate, legally or illegally, 
from a foreign country may suffer when we consider the level of discrimination 
that exists against minorities in developed countries.  If Bourgois is correct, it is 
tenable that immigrants may participate in illicit economies in order to secure a 
reasonable income.  Ruminating the legitimacy of Fagan and Bourgois’ claims, 
questioning the validity of a trafficking claim may appear insensitive but is not 
unfounded.
35
 One article analyzed for this study involved an Indonesian woman who contacted an 
Australian man to receive assistance in migrating to Australia (Wray, 2007).  She informed law 
enforcement that she suggested that she could prostitute herself in order to repay the man. 
Issues over the amount of money earned versus what the woman received ($11,000AUS vs. 
$3300AUS) resulted in charges of human trafficking.  The Indonesian woman and Australian 
man exchanged seven emails where the details of the transaction were identified and agreed 
upon.  The woman also claimed that she did not receive the days off that she felt had been 
outlined in the agreement.
73


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