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The affect of favorable opinions toward the legalization of prostitution on human sex trafficking
The main objective of this research paper is to analyze the attitudes toward the legalization of prostitution and compare the attitudes to human trafficking statistics. The purpose of this research is to draw a conclusion as to whether an increase in favorable attitudes toward the legalization of prostitution is related to the increase in sex trafficking. In order to conduct this research I used secondary data, more specifically, I used surveys collected in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2016 regarding attitudes toward the legalization of prostitution. I compared those findings with the national statistics received from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. I analyzed the data to understand whether Nevada, a state with legalized prostitution, has greater or fewer instances of sex trafficking reports than a state, such as California, which does not have legalized prostitution. Many individuals attribute the problem of sex trafficking to prostitution; however, Nevada has legal prostitution in several counties and has approximately one tenth of the number of reported human trafficking as California. The results from the analysis showed that favorable attitudes have decreased since 2011 when the surveys began. Additionally, men, Caucasians, and individuals between the ages of 30 and 44 show more favorable attitudes toward legalization than any other demographic in the study. The study showed that, according to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, the reports of sex trafficking cases have increased since 2012; California has the most reported cases of human trafficking and Nevada had significantly less reports of sex trafficking (approximately one tenth of the reports that California had). Originally, I had expected to find that there would be an increase in human trafficking and an increase in favorable attitudes toward the legalization of prostitution; however, the results concluded that favorable attitudes have decreased and sex trafficking has increased. The implications one could arrive at is that the individuals surveyed were not an accurate representation of the current population, some of the reports could have been duplicates so there are fewer trafficked victims although there are more reports. Throughout the research, it was also apparent that many of the surveyed individuals were not educated in the types of prostitution; however, approximately 44% of surveyed individuals were in favor of legalizing prostitution.
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