My areas of expertise include Human Trafficking and Global Crime, Criminological Theory, Race/Class/Gender Inequality, and Corporate and Environmental Deviance. My several lines of research examine the intersections of globalization, inequality, and crime.
Human Trafficking and Theory: I have published extensively on human trafficking, frequently related to theoretical application to the topic. I have published two book chapters in the 2019 edited volume Broadening the Scope of Human Trafficking Research: A Reader. The first chapter proposes an integrated theoretical framework that can be used to understand human trafficking, drawing from criminological, migration, and feminist literatures. The second chapter uses institutional anomie theory to trace the rise of human trafficking in post-Soviet countries. My 2017 article in the International Journal of Women’s Studies utilizes critical perspectives about race to dissect globalization as a racial project with implications for human trafficking.
Stemming from my dissertation research, my 2022 book titled Human Trafficking in the Era of Global Migration: Unraveling the Impact of Neoliberal Economic Policy with Bristol University Press seeks to understand the ways that global economic policies create social conditions which exacerbate individuals vulnerability to human trafficking. The book description states: Factors such as inequality, gender, globalization, corruption and instability clearly matter in human trafficking. But does corruption work the same way in Cambodia as it does in Bolivia? Does instability need to be present alongside inequality to lead to human trafficking? How do issues of migration connect? Using migration, feminist, and criminological theory, this book asks how global economic policies contribute to the conditions which both drive migration and allow human trafficking to flourish, with specific focus on Cambodia, Bolivia and The Gambia. Challenging existing thinking, the book concludes with an anti-trafficking framework which addresses the root causes of human trafficking.
Finally, I also have a forthcoming 2024 book with the University of California Press titled Criminology Explains Human Trafficking. This book will provide an overview of a wide variety of criminological theory as it applies to the topic of human trafficking. As with other books in the series, the goal is to provide the reader with a book that is both comprehensive and accessible regarding the intersection between theory, research, and policy.
Media and Crime: My secondary area of research examines media coverage of crime as it relates to stereotypes, power, and policy. A 2023 article published in Critical Criminology examined #WayfairGate and the growth of sex trafficking panics across social media. My forthcoming book in the Routledge Studies in Crime, Culture and Media series, titled Human Trafficking Hysteria: Historical and Modern Perspectives on Moral Panics, Media, and Crime brings together existing research to provide an overview of historical and modern moral panics related to human trafficking. This ranges from the white slave panic origins of human trafficking, to modern panics around sporting events, and conspiracies spread through social media. Grounded in the theoretical framework of both cultural criminology and moral panic theory, the book explores the links between media portrayals of human trafficking, perpetuation of stereotypes, and influences on policy.
Other research examines the role that media constructions of crime play in downplaying corporate and environmental malfeasance. A 2018 project involves the public discovery of corporate water pollution in a southeastern town in order to understand how media coverage shapes local understanding of risk through the lens of green criminology and risk society. This paper has been published in Critical Criminology. My 2019 article examines the role of transnational corporations and labor violations in the fast fashion industry. It takes the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse as a case study to explore how media discourse constructed ideas about corporate deviance and global risk governance within the global supply chain, comparing news coverage in US and Bangladeshi newspapers. This paper has been published in Sociological Inquiry. A forthcoming article in Critical Criminology uses moral panic theory to understand the spread of human trafficking conspiracies through social media.
For a summary of my publications click here: Hupp Williamson Google Scholar Profile.