Underlying Motives, Moral Agendas and Unlikely Partnerships: The Formulation of the U.S. Trafficking in Victims Protection Act Through the Data and Voices of Key Policy Players

  • Nicole Footen Bromfield United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain
  • Moshoula Capous-Desyllas CSU Northridge
Keywords: TVPA, sex trafficking, legislation, prostitution, ACF


In response to the overwhelming amount of attention to human trafficking, the debates surrounding its definition, and its focus on the sex industry, the purpose of this study was to understand the motivations behind the formation of the Trafficking in Victims Protection Act (TVPA). Using the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) as a model, data was collected and analyzed in order to examine the coalition identities of key players and their positions. Through the presentation of in-depth interview data with key policy players involved in the making of the TVPA, this article illustrates how and why the TVPA was formulated, the implications of its development, and the necessity for critical analysis of its effects. The use of alternative frameworks of labor and migration for understanding trafficking is proposed. Further consideration is given to legislative changes to eliminate anti-prostitution ideology and to support anti-oppressive approaches to addressing forced or deceptive working conditions.

Author Biographies

Nicole Footen Bromfield, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain
Nicole Footen Bromfield is an Assistant Professor in the Social Work Department at United Arab Emirates University.
Moshoula Capous-Desyllas, CSU Northridge
Moshoula Capous-Desyllas is an Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department at CSU Northridge.