Margaret Ruiz

Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2012

Capstone Advisor

Azera Hromadzic

Capstone Major

International Relations

Capstone College

Citizenship and Public Affairs

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

International and Area Studies | Other International and Area Studies


This project uses a multidisciplinary approach to analyze different forms of modern-day slavery, with a focus on sex trafficking. More specifically, it examines how historical slavery has transformed into modern-day slavery and it illuminates similarities and differences between historical slavery and modern-day slavery. In my work, I also studied the underlying causes of modern-day slavery, by analyzing various factors that affect slavery. Lastly, my work examines the existing legal and political instruments that confront and combat slavery. Finally, in this project, I reflect and discuss the lack of effective programs that work towards the reparation of victims.

I came up with my main questions that would motivate my research and analysis, by performing extensive reading from a wide array of sources. In the process, I discovered that some forms of modern slavery stem from long-lasting colonial legacies. Hence, some forms of contemporary slavery are indeed remnants of earlier slavery that remained intact, but have transformed to fit our present time or have influenced the development of modern forms of slavery. For example, many of the characteristics that define modern day sex trafficking were visible during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Finally, this project also reveals several causes and factors that allow for modern-day slavery to flourish, and they include the effects of the global political economy, influences from some cultural and religious practices, women’s inferior status, lack of proper law-enforcement and persistent law and border patrol corruption.

Furthermore, this project illustrates that the most effective legal and political instruments for combating slavery are the Palermo Protocol and the United States Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. The findings indicate that these mechanisms were mildly successful at eradicating modern-day slavery. Lastly, the results demonstrate that in terms of reparation and justice for slave victims, protections programs like “T” visas in the U.S. are available to aid victims; however, this does not fully protect the victims--they are continue to be treated as “instruments” for criminal investigations, instead of being treated as victims with rights that were violated. This project concludes with several recommendations for combating different forms of contemporary slavery, including but not limited to alleviating poverty, including domestic workers in equal protection labor laws, inverting risk-rewarding economies for the sex slave industry and the promotion of Fair trade products and other initiatives that work to rid the international supply chain of slavery.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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