Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Wendy Simonds - Chair

Second Advisor

Denise Donnelly

Third Advisor

Dawn Baunach


Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal activities in today’s world and a violation of human rights. Sex trafficking of women from Russia and Ukraine was enabled by the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the incorporation of the new countries into the global economy. At the same time, this social problem generated a series of anti-trafficking campaigns in Russia, Ukraine, and internationally. This research analyzes social responses to the risks of sex trafficking of women from Russia and Ukraine. The analysis is based on sixteen-month multi-sited field research in Russia and Ukraine. I collected data through participant observation, interviewing, and document analysis. The research provides insight into the supply and demand sides of sex-trafficking markets and describes how sex trafficking of women is integrated into the overall organization of the global sex trade. I use institutional ethnography to map out different anti-trafficking institutions (NGOs, governmental offices, international organizations) and examine social relations engendered by anti-trafficking mobilizations. My research analyzes institutional interventions aimed at minimizing the risks to sex trafficking victims. I explore how the institutional actors form transnational regulatory spaces to combat the problem of sex trafficking. Finally, I analyze how female trafficking survivors negotiate their identities in response to the institutional power of anti-trafficking NGOs that assist them.


Included in

Sociology Commons