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Framing Human Trafficking: A Content Analysis of Newspaper Articles from 2012 and 2013 Open Access

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The present study seeks to add to the scholarly understanding of media coverage of trafficking by analyzing the content of articles on human trafficking published by the Washington Post and the New York Times in 2012 and 2013. Because the media have the potential to reach large numbers of the public and policymakers through the stories they tell, understanding exactly what the media are saying about trafficking and how that discourse changes over time can offer insight into the role of media in our society, particularly their ability to legitimize or challenge the dominant trafficking agenda. An analysis of trafficking articles also offers a chance to reexamine our perceptions -- if one of the major roles of the media in society is to educate or inform the public about social issues such as trafficking, then what perceptions are we being left with, and how accurate are they? By simultaneously focusing on these types of descriptive and theoretical research questions, this study adds to the growing literature on both fronts. The present study also partially replicates work conducted by another researcher for articles published between 1980 and 2006 in order to make comparisons between the two data sets and identify changes in the media coverage of trafficking over time.

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