Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2011

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Michele Jackson

Second Advisor

Dr. Revi Sterling

Abstract

Human trafficking is a global problem; it is one of the three largest organized crime industries in the world, alongside the drug and arms trade. The complex task of combatting human trafficking is a recent topic of concern within U.S. and international law that requires collaboration from many different perspectives: law enforcement, non-governmental organizations, non-profit organizations, social care providers, faith communities, and everyday citizens. Collaboration is needed from many different entities in order to counter human trafficking due to the high technological sophistication of traffickers and the complexity of the global crime. This study investigated the extent and nature of collaboration and technology among anti-trafficking efforts. I conducted a case study of iEmpathize, a Colorado-based non-profit organization, whose main mission is to collaborate with and promote grassroots’ counter trafficking efforts around the world through technological means. I conducted in-depth interviews of iEmpathize’s employees, interns, and collaborators to obtain data. I conducted observations of meetings, events, and collaborative partnerships to obtain a comprehensive understanding of iEmpathize and their collaborations. Through interviews and field observations, this study discovered that collaboration and technology are essential for iEmpathize’s efforts. iEmpathize use media technology, artifacts, and art as tools to collaborate and to generate collective action through narrative. The narrative of victimized children was found to be the central counter trafficking strategy that generated collaboration, collective action, and collective identity, rather than technology.

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