Online Program

Complexities of the intersection between commercial sex and the demand for sex trafficking: A critical discourse analysis of the online posts of men from 4 Midwest cities

Monday, November 2, 2015

Dawn Bounds, PhD, PMHNP-BC, College of Nursing, Dept of Community, Systems, Mental Health Nursing, Rush University, Chicago, IL

Kathleen Delaney, PhD, PMH-NP, FAAN, Department of Community, Mental Health and Systems, Rush College of Nursing, Chicago, IL
Wrenetha Julion, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, Women, Children & Family Nursing, Rush University, College of Nursing, Chicago, IL

Jody Raphael, JD, Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
Susan Breitenstein, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, College of Nursing, Dept of Community, Systems, Mental Health Nursing, Rush University, Chicago, IL
Michael Schoeny, PhD, College of Nursing, Rush University, Chicago, IL
Sex trafficking (ST) causes devastating physical and mental harm to women. Our understanding of the intersection between ST and the commercial sex (CS) industry remains unclear.  While there is little empirical research that connects ST and the CS industry, the underground nature of and blurred boundaries between ST and CS impedes mounting an effective strategy to combat ST. Purpose: This study describes how the postings of 4 Midwest cities in the USA Sex Guide (SG), an online forum for men interested in CS, construct a sociocultural context for elements of ST via postings that endorse force, fraud, and coercion of women. Methods: A content analysis was conducted. The results were interpreted using critical discourse analysis (CDA). CDA explores the dominant discourse of ideologies that can lead to acceptability of a given phenomenon.  CDA was used to isolate and examine how participants shape discourse by limiting responses and thus systematizing thought. Results: Echoing notions were identified and thematically organized to explicate the dominant discourse present on the USA SG. Blatant indicators of ST (i.e. drugs/alcohol and the presence of youth and pimps) along with subtle embedded discursive patterns are presented. Dialogues that groom men/buyers and raise acceptability of exploiting vulnerability were merged to form a dominant discourse. Discussion/Conclusions: This study provides researchers and policy makers with a lens from the men’s/buyers’ perspective that better informs the debate about public health harms related to CS; thus, our understanding of ST is illuminated and our ability to combat ST is enhanced.

Learning Areas:

Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the intersections of commercial sex and sex trafficking. Evaluate the value of critical discourse analysis to understand how internet based dialogues promote the sociocultural context for sex trafficking. Identify the dominant discourse found within the Midwest section of the USA Sex Guide in this study.

Keyword(s): Sex Workers, Vulnerable Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked as a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner in a variety of settings with diverse vulnerable populations for over 10 years. I am currently completing my dissertation on the topic of commercial sexual exploitation which has afforded me with the opportunity to immerse myself into the literature on this topic.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.