Confronting sex trafficking: Gender depictions in newspaper coverage from the Former Soviet Republics and the Baltic states

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The Former Soviet Republics and the Baltic states are a primary source destination for sex traffickers. Drawing on framing theory and the gendered mediation thesis, this study uses a quantitative content analysis and a qualitative textual analysis to analyse how four English-language newspapers in the Former Soviet Republics and the Baltic states report on the issue of sex trafficking over a period of 11 years. Findings suggest that there is little coverage of sex trafficking in English-language newspapers in the region, existing coverage lacks a clear definition regarding what sex trafficking is and the issue appears to only be deemed newsworthy when tied to policy changes. This article argues that given the severity of the issue, it is important that it is brought to the public and policy makers’ attention. News media have the ability to serve that function, but are not currently doing so.

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