Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Constructing the ideal victim in the United States of America’s annual trafficking in persons reports

Wilson, M. and O’Brien, Erin (2016) Constructing the ideal victim in the United States of America’s annual trafficking in persons reports. Crime, Law and Social Change, 65 (1-2). pp. 29-45.

Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


Human trafficking as a global phenomenon continues to elude accurate quantitative measure, and remains a controversial policy domain significantly influenced by anecdotal evidence. Drawing on the policy analysis framework of Bacchi (1999, Policy and Society, 26(3), 5–20, 2007) the problem representation of trafficking through narratives can be considered a direct antecedent of contemporary anti-human trafficking policy. This article explores the construction of human trafficking within the Trafficking in Persons Reports, published annually by the United States of America’s Department of State. An examination of the victim and offender narratives contained within the reports published between 2001 and 2012 demonstrates that human trafficking is predominantly represented as a crime committed by ideal offenders against idealized victims, consistent with Christie’s (1986) landmark criteria of ideal victimization. This representation of an ideal prototype has the potential to inform policy that diverts focus from the causative role of global socioeconomic injustice towards criminal justice policies targeting individual offenders.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright: © 2021 Springer Nature Switzerland AG.
Item Control Page Item Control Page