Modern Languages (B.A.)
Document Type and Release Option
Thesis (open access)
Dr. Miguel Garcia
Human trafficking exists as a multi-billion-dollar industry that impacts millions of people around the world, mainly targeting vulnerable populations. In the United States, one vulnerable population includes non-English speaking victims trafficked for labor, agriculture, domestic, or sex purposes. Protecting trafficking victims involves providing justice, medical assistance, identification, therapy, rehabilitation, and reintegration tools which often falls within the purview of nonprofit organizations. Research on human trafficking has underscored language barriers as a key obstacle in the protection of trafficking victims. However, little is known about the role of language barriers in the nonprofit sector, and specifically the experiences of nonprofit organizations when dealing with non-English speaking victims.
To explore the impact of language barriers in the protection of trafficking victims, I used an online survey and conducted virtual interviews with representatives of U.S. nonprofit organizations who assist, and have experience working with, Spanish-speaking victims. In total, 40 participants completed an online survey via Qualtrics, five representatives agreed to meet for a virtual interview via Zoom. The survey and interviews sought to investigate the impact of language barriers within nonprofit organizations when working with Spanish-speaking victims.
In this study, I found that 75% of organizations who “almost never” see Spanish-speaking victims seek their services have an interpreter available. Despite these services, 66% of organizations state that language barriers pose difficulties to fulfilling their mission. Furthermore, the present study exposes various needs related to language barriers including collaboration among nonprofit organizations, awareness of language services being available, bilingual materials, and cultural literacy.
Human trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar industry that targets vulnerable populations including non-English speakers trafficked for labor or sex purposes. This research explores the impact of language barriers within nonprofit organizations when working with Spanish-speaking trafficking victims. The study exposed the need for increased collaboration and awareness, bilingual materials, and cultural literacy.
Klien-Hart, Rachel, "Language Barriers in the U.S.: Exploring the protection of human trafficking victims whose native language is Spanish" (2022). Honors College Theses. 682.