The context of human trafficking is intricately complex, involving economic, social, political, local, and global factors. Previous studies have documented the importance of factors such as economic and gender based inequality, globalization, corruption, and conflict. Yet research has not sufficiently explored how these contexts coalesce to influence human trafficking across geographic locales. My dissertation integrates theory from criminology, migration, and feminist literatures to specify joint configurations of conditions that shape human trafficking countries in various geographic locales. This framework will take into consideration how nations’ economic and social contexts are shaped by larger neoliberal global economic shifts. To do so, I use set-theoretic MMR (multi-method research), which combines fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis with process tracing.

My dissertation builds from my thesis, which used institutional anomie and socialist feminist theory to examine what factors contributed to the growth of human trafficking in post-Soviet countries. Using comparative historical methodology alongside secondary data, I traced human trafficking from the dissolution of the Soviet Union through 2014 in five post-Soviet countries. The results highlight how the transition from a centrally planned economy to a capitalist free market impacted women in a multitude of ways and is ultimately connected to their victimization through trafficking. Thus, in order to reduce victimization of women seeking migration, the socioeconomic conditions they face in their home country need to be addressed.

I am also currently working on two other projects. The first takes the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse as a case study to explore how media discourse constructed ideas about corporate deviance, blame attribution, and social protest. With theory guided by the crime news frame and the protest paradigm, newspapers from both the U.S. and Bangladesh are utilized to explore media coverage of corporate deviance and construction of blame as well as reaction to social protest in relation to the Rana Plaza collapse.

The second 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. Drawing from the environmental literature on risk society, this paper takes a qualitative approach to explore media coverage of corporate environmental harm through the lens of green criminology.

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