Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science




trafficking, sex, women, prostitution, trade


A malady of economic and political instability, the trafficking of women for the purpose of sexual exploitation thrives on the desperate poverty and gender inequity that afflicts hundreds of Mexican women. After drugs and weapons trafficking, human trafficking is organized crime’s most profitable activity, generating seven to ten billion dollars annually. Sex trafficking is linked to prostitution, for it is the prostitution industry into which these victims are forced. For this reason, combating sex trafficking is linked to a nation’s view on prostitution, a subject upon which there is much debate. The United Nations definition of sex trafficking, however, denotes several basic components upon which most can agree: sex trafficking above all involves coercion, transportation and exploitation. Though trafficking is clearly a global phenomenon, this paper focuses on the problem as it particularly affects the United States and Mexico. Both nations are high implicated in this illicit “trade,” partaking in different roles – the U.S. as a destination site for these trafficked women and Mexico functioning primarily as a source and hub nation, through which the women are “supplied.” Sex trafficking is a complex, global social problem that is facilitated by numerous factors; yet attaining a thorough comprehension of the dynamics of this phenomenon requires seeing the trade as a business, and thus investigating the markets which comprise this industry. The trade must be viewed in terms of basic economics – supply and demand; it is within those two fields that the fight must begin.