Academic department under which the project should be listed

Psychology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Dr. Dorothy F. Marsil

Additional Faculty

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

Project Type

Poster

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Commercial sexual exploitation by force, fraud, and coercion are tactics used by sex traffickers. Although sex trafficking is an ongoing, pervasive problem, there is no known research on gender differences regarding knowledge and attitudes about sex trafficking tactics and the perception of these women and girls as victims of rape. Thus, the purpose of this study was to compare male and female college students' knowledge and attitudes regarding sex trafficking tactics and their beliefs about whether these individuals are rape victims. Consistent with rape myth acceptance research on gender (Russell & Hand, 2017), we hypothesized that there may be gender differences in knowledge and attitudes about sex trafficking tactics and there would be gender differences in the perception of trafficked individuals as victims of rape during their commercial sexual exploitation, such that women would more likely than men to endorse these tactics as rape. 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. Unexpectedly, there were few gender differences in knowledge and attitudes about sex trafficking tactics, but there were no differences in perception of rape victimization. Both men and women thought the tactics used to commercially sexually exploit trafficked individuals did constitute rape. These findings will help us better understand attitudes and beliefs associated with sex trafficking tactics and rape victimization.

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Gender Differences are Disappearing: Attitudes on Sex Trafficking Tactics and Rape Victimization

Commercial sexual exploitation by force, fraud, and coercion are tactics used by sex traffickers. Although sex trafficking is an ongoing, pervasive problem, there is no known research on gender differences regarding knowledge and attitudes about sex trafficking tactics and the perception of these women and girls as victims of rape. Thus, the purpose of this study was to compare male and female college students' knowledge and attitudes regarding sex trafficking tactics and their beliefs about whether these individuals are rape victims. Consistent with rape myth acceptance research on gender (Russell & Hand, 2017), we hypothesized that there may be gender differences in knowledge and attitudes about sex trafficking tactics and there would be gender differences in the perception of trafficked individuals as victims of rape during their commercial sexual exploitation, such that women would more likely than men to endorse these tactics as rape. 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. Unexpectedly, there were few gender differences in knowledge and attitudes about sex trafficking tactics, but there were no differences in perception of rape victimization. Both men and women thought the tactics used to commercially sexually exploit trafficked individuals did constitute rape. These findings will help us better understand attitudes and beliefs associated with sex trafficking tactics and rape victimization.