Project Title

Assessing Gender Differences in Sexual Trafficking Attitudes and Myth Acceptance

Presenters

Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - Psychological Science

Faculty Sponsor Name

Dr. Dorothy Marsil

Additional Faculty

Dr. Corinne McNamara, Psychology, cmcnama4@kennesaw.edu

Disciplines

Social Psychology

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Global sex trafficking is a pervasive and harmful crime that is not bound by race, gender, or socio-economic status. Recently, there has been a growing focus on this issue within the legal system. It is equally important to have public awareness of this type of sexual victimization, including how it may be viewed by males and females. Thus, the purpose of this study was to assess gender differences in college student’s knowledge, attitudes, and myth acceptance regarding the sex trafficking of women and girls. We hypothesized that participants would endorse some sex trafficking myths, especially those related to victim agency and bodily autonomy. In addition, we hypothesized that there would be gender differences in some attitudes and myth endorsement. Undergraduates were recruited through SONA from Introductory Psychology courses at KSU to participate in the study. One hundred fifty-four participants completed an online survey. As expected, participants endorsed certain sex trafficking myths, but there was some general awareness of factual information, particularly for participants who had completed prior sexual assault prevention/intervention education programs. Likewise, some gender differences were noted. The findings from this pilot study will help us better understand the attitudes and myth acceptance associated with sex trafficking between men and women. In turn, this can help inform future research and educational and advocacy efforts to fight the commercial sexual exploitation of sexually trafficked individuals.

Project Type

Oral Presentation (15-min time slots)

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Assessing Gender Differences in Sexual Trafficking Attitudes and Myth Acceptance

Global sex trafficking is a pervasive and harmful crime that is not bound by race, gender, or socio-economic status. Recently, there has been a growing focus on this issue within the legal system. It is equally important to have public awareness of this type of sexual victimization, including how it may be viewed by males and females. Thus, the purpose of this study was to assess gender differences in college student’s knowledge, attitudes, and myth acceptance regarding the sex trafficking of women and girls. We hypothesized that participants would endorse some sex trafficking myths, especially those related to victim agency and bodily autonomy. In addition, we hypothesized that there would be gender differences in some attitudes and myth endorsement. Undergraduates were recruited through SONA from Introductory Psychology courses at KSU to participate in the study. One hundred fifty-four participants completed an online survey. As expected, participants endorsed certain sex trafficking myths, but there was some general awareness of factual information, particularly for participants who had completed prior sexual assault prevention/intervention education programs. Likewise, some gender differences were noted. The findings from this pilot study will help us better understand the attitudes and myth acceptance associated with sex trafficking between men and women. In turn, this can help inform future research and educational and advocacy efforts to fight the commercial sexual exploitation of sexually trafficked individuals.