Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking at the University of Nebraska


Date of this Version



Presented at First Annual Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking, Lincoln, Nebraska, October 29-31, 2009.
Copyright © 2009 Lyndsey Christoffersen


Human trafficking became a major issue in the United States in 2000 with passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. In 2001, border security was tightened in response to terrorism. While some efforts have been made to eradicate trafficking, the U.S. federal government has largely ignored the immigration aspect of trafficking. This paper aims to examine the intersection of U.S. human trafficking and immigration policy. The study of international illegal flows is still in the early stages. Thus, this paper is exploratory in nature. Information was obtained from government documents, nongovernmental organizations, and academic articles. What is trafficking? Is it really a problem? What are the unintended consequences of trafficking legislation? Are current campaigns working? This paper answers these questions by first, drawing on various sources to establish the significance of human trafficking as a social problem, second, identifying the common definitions of human trafficking that guide U.S. policy, third, examining how U.S. policy deals with trafficking, and finally, exploring U.S. anti-trafficking enforcement efforts and the government’s focus on trafficking as only a criminal problem when it also is a migration problem.