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Title: Exploring the tip of the iceberg : the representations of trafficking in persons in UK national newspapers
Author: Reynolds, Jennifer
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 4005
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2016
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Trafficking in persons (TIP) has continued to captivate media attention in the United Kingdom (UK). These portrayals consistently include narratives of trafficked persons brutally exploited by traffickers. The representations of TIP also consistently indicate that the issue is widespread geographically and extensive in size. Academic literature suggests that the way in which the media represents an issue is influential in persuading public opinions and government policies (Ahmad, 2016; Baker et al., 2013; van Dijk, 1991, Wilson and O’Brien, 2016). Therefore, the main purpose of this thesis was to examine the way in which newspapers within the UK represented the issue of TIP, trafficked persons and traffickers. A total of 121 newspaper articles comprised the data-set from four national newspapers and their Sunday counterparts, which included: The Guardian, The Observer, The Times, The Sunday Times, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, The Sun and Sunday Sun. The timeframe of the data-set spanned the year 2011. Through a social constructionist lens, thematic analysis identified several key findings. The themes were explored in four empirical chapters, which can be summarised by the following: 1) TIP was represented as a form of modern day slavery, as a particularly abhorrent social issue, and as a pervasive social issue in terms of incidence and geographical location, 2) Representations of trafficked persons’ victimisation were equated to being acted upon (powerless victims) by means of dominance rather than to act by free will (active agents), 3) Representations of traffickers incorporated stereotyped portrayals of minority ethnic perpetrators, and 4) Representations of the trafficked person were objectifying through the emphasis on the (female) body. A wider implication of the commodification of the trafficked person was also discussed. Limitations of the study and directions for future research are suggested. Finally, potential applications of this research are discussed.
Supervisor: Benneworth-Gray, Kelly ; Johnson, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available