Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Political Science (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Courtney Burns


The International Labour Organization estimated there to be around 21 million individuals worldwide that fall victim to forced labour and another 4.5 who are exploited for sex. Sex Trafficking is a major human rights issue around the world and in the United States particularly. How would reducing the restrictions of the T-visa as well as legalizing prostitution impact the overall rate of sex trafficking in the United States? Previous human rights research has found that the legislation currently in place to combat sex trafficking is not adequately limiting the extent of the problem. I argue that the restrictions on T-visas limit victims’ access to resources and prevent them from seeking help. Furthermore, I argue that the debate on the legalization of prostitution and its role in the sex trafficking industry can be connected to the usage of the T-visa. For my study, I will use a document analysis to evaluate how reducing the restrictions of T-visas and legalizing prostitution could impact the rate of sex trafficking in the United States. Overall, I find that by reducing the restrictions of the T-visa and by continuing to make prostitution illegal sex trafficking will decrease.