Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Robert Hislope




trafficking, sex, case, states, thailand


This thesis explores the flow, extent, and ramifications of sex trafficking both in the international community and in two case studies, the United States and Thailand. Five major focus points are used for each case study—the role of NGOs in the country, current anti-trafficking legislation, variances in trafficking activity among different regions of the state, the relationship between sex trafficking and prostitution, and solutions and suggestions. Each case study is examined through the lens of comparative political theory, specifically rationality, culturalism and structuralism. These three theories are discussed in depth, and used to determine more efficient ways to combat sex trafficking in the United States and Thailand. It is concluded that rational choice theory is greatly applicable to the United States case, whereas structuralism and especially culturalism play a greater role in the Thailand case study. Final recommendations for the United States include, among other things, the development of a permanent, readily deployable anti-trafficking task force designed to cooperate with local law enforcement and coordinate nationwide raids on trafficking operations. The main recommendation for Thailand is, among other suggestions, the legalization of prostitution in the country due to far-reaching cultural assumptions which facilitate sex trafficking in the state. It is reasoned that energy is better spent regulating the sex industry, and as a result sex trafficking, rather than resisting such cultural assumptions. The thesis concludes on an optimistic note concerning the relationship between human trafficking and political theory, and how the two might come together to create further solutions to the issue of sex trafficking.