The Racial Sentencing Disparity in Minor Sex Trafficking Cases
Murray, Ethan James
Research on human trafficking often focuses on aggregate outcomes rather than on individuals, and among the few analyses conducted at the individual level, most focus on victims rather than on defendants. This study seeks to answer a critical question that has yet to be addressed in the human trafficking literature: what happens to alleged traffickers after they are charged? Using data from every federally prosecuted human trafficking case in the United States between 2000 and 2015, this thesis examines the relationship between a defendant’s race and his or her sentencing outcome in minor sex trafficking cases. I find that Black defendants receive sentences that are approximately 26 percent longer, on average, than those received by otherwise similar White defendants. Moreover, sentences tend to be the harshest for Black defendants under age 26. These results suggest that human trafficking research, which is generally focused on victims, also ought to consider how anti-human trafficking policies may contribute to the racial disparity at the core of the American criminal justice system.
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Ferguson, Jeffrey A.; Weinberger, Morris; Westmoreland, Glenda R.; Mamlin, Lorrie A.; Segar, Douglas S.; Greene, James Y.; Martin, Douglas K.; Tierney, William M. (1998-07-13)