Project Title

The Relationship Between Attitudes on Institutional Responses and Sex Trafficking Awareness and Myth Acceptance

Presenters

Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - Psychological Science

Faculty Sponsor Name

Dorothy F. Marsil

Additional Faculty

Corinne McNamara, Psychology, cmcnama4@kennesaw.edu

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Sex trafficking is a dangerous and illegal business in which individuals are commercially sexually exploited when they are under the age of consent or by using force, fraud, or coercion. Recently, there has been a growing focus on this issue within the legal system, but no known research exists relating perceptions of effectiveness of the criminal justice system, as well as beliefs about prescriptive institutional responses to the acceptance of common myths and misconceptions surrounding the victims of sexual trafficking and the tactics used by sex traffickers. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between college student’s awareness, attitudes, and myth acceptance regarding the sex trafficking of women and girls and their beliefs about the effectiveness of current techniques used to combat the problem and the need for resources in that effort. We hypothesized that the participants who had less awareness and endorsed sex trafficking myths would be less likely to support current and potential resources being used to combat sex trafficking and would be less likely to contribute to such efforts. 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, there was a relationship between awareness, myth acceptance, and attitudes about resources used and willingness to support such efforts. The findings will help us better understand attitudes and beliefs associated with sex trafficking and communicating efforts to combat sex trafficking within communities.

Project Type

Poster

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The Relationship Between Attitudes on Institutional Responses and Sex Trafficking Awareness and Myth Acceptance

Sex trafficking is a dangerous and illegal business in which individuals are commercially sexually exploited when they are under the age of consent or by using force, fraud, or coercion. Recently, there has been a growing focus on this issue within the legal system, but no known research exists relating perceptions of effectiveness of the criminal justice system, as well as beliefs about prescriptive institutional responses to the acceptance of common myths and misconceptions surrounding the victims of sexual trafficking and the tactics used by sex traffickers. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between college student’s awareness, attitudes, and myth acceptance regarding the sex trafficking of women and girls and their beliefs about the effectiveness of current techniques used to combat the problem and the need for resources in that effort. We hypothesized that the participants who had less awareness and endorsed sex trafficking myths would be less likely to support current and potential resources being used to combat sex trafficking and would be less likely to contribute to such efforts. 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, there was a relationship between awareness, myth acceptance, and attitudes about resources used and willingness to support such efforts. The findings will help us better understand attitudes and beliefs associated with sex trafficking and communicating efforts to combat sex trafficking within communities.