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Gender bias in the media framework constructed around the issue of trafficking in human beings in Germany

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Gender bias in the media framework constructed around the issue of trafficking in human beings in Germany

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Samenvatting

This dissertation explores whether the German news media framework that is constructed around the issue of
trafficking in human beings (THB) is biased or framed in terms of gender. The past decade has seen major
developments in efforts towards the eradication of THB on an international and national level, simultaneous to an
increased acknowledgement of many different types of trafficking and the understanding that men fall victim to
traffickers just as often as women, if not more frequently. Although Germany is considered as a progressive actor in
the combat against THB, only two forms of trafficking are defined by current penal law: trafficking for sexual
exploitation and trafficking for labour exploitation. Additionally, all legislation, official documents or law
enforcement efforts emphasise on the ‘traditional’ understanding of THB: women who are forced into prostitution
by male offenders.
A media frame can be defined as the elevation of a certain aspect of the information, thus not creating a false truth,
but obscuring it in a certain manner. Subsequent, a bias can be described as the continuity of patterns in the framing
of news coverage. The salience of certain aspects of a social problem influences public perception and
understanding of it and, by implication, influences public discourse, how politics discuss it and the actions that are
taken to combat it.
Through a quantitative content analysis of 189 news articles, published between January 1st and December 31st
2016, German news coverage is analysed. The selected units of analysis, ‘Significant Actors’, ‘Issue Focus’ and
‘Visualisation’ provide structure and coherence to this research. It is demonstrated that German news coverage on
THB is highly gendered regarding victims and villains. Women are portrayed as the typical and most frequent
victims, while traffickers and buyers are predominantly reported to be male. News coverage also places great
emphasis upon sex trafficking, whilst neglecting the existence and problematic of other forms of THB.
Concerning THB, German news media do not seem to act as an institution of assessment, but rather mirror
government standpoints. By providing a limited amount of viewpoints to the public, general discourse and policy
debate is restricted. This lack of new angles and competing perspectives is expected to limit alternative policy
proposals as well as anti-trafficking programs. However, due to several pivotal limitations to international
cooperation, this dissertation does not express great optimism that news coverage or policies will change adequately
in the following years. Hopes lie with civil society organisations to provide the public with accurate, representative
information on THB.

Toon meer
OrganisatieDe Haagse Hogeschool
AfdelingMO Europese Studies / European Studies
Jaar2017
TypeBachelorscriptie
TaalEngels

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