Date of Award

5-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Chair

Dr. Robert J. Paul, Jr.

Committee Chair Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Member 2

Dr. David L. Butler

Committee Member 2 Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Member 3

Dr. C. Daniel Prather

Committee Member 3 Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Member 4

Dr. Edward A. Sayre

Committee Member 4 Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Member 5

Dr. Tom Lansford

Committee Member 5 Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Abstract

The global hegemon, the United States encompasses roughly 57,000 to 63,000 of the roughly 45.8 million slaves present across the world today (Walk Free Foundation 2016a). This dissertation research uses the theoretical lens of Human Security as a unique approach in that it is people-centered, focusing on the individual, rather than the more traditional theories in international relations that emphasize the state as the central actor. This dissertation focuses on the understudied area of human trafficking into and within the United States. More specifically, the objective of this research examines the movement of trafficked persons via air and details actions to be taken to combat human trafficking.

Although the world relies upon aerial commerce to enable globalization and interdependence, these same transportation systems and flows that carry persons and goods for legal commerce and trade can also be used as an avenue for illegal commerce, including trafficking of human. Thus, the researcher surveyed aviation personnel in various sectors of the industry, government organizations, non-government organization and victims/survivors via an online survey platform and utilized social media to reach potential survey participants. The sample size used for this study was 10,065 and the study received 578 participants.

The data collection procedures and results used in this dissertation were designed to identify gaps in security safeguards that further enable human trafficking via aircraft. The author presents strategies that can be adopted to reduce, if not eliminate, human trafficking into and within the United States via air. The researcher identified eleven opportunities for future research and discusses the limitations. The studied reveals seven key findings: definition of human trafficking is not known in totality, the level of human trafficking awareness, the number of human trafficking cases identified, the characteristics of the typical respondent, aviation sectors place a slightly different areas of emphasis of human trafficking that is understudied, understudied areas of human trafficking were different than that of the typical respondent, and the absence of human trafficking regulations and training. Finally, the study introduces a comprehensive-holistic human trafficking training curriculum entitled, “Operation Safe House: Human Trafficking Training for Aviation Professionals.”

ORCID ID

https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7924-6879

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