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Public Policy and Administration


Paul Rutledge


Public awareness is crucial in the fight against human trafficking, but little academic research looks at the public policy implications of different types of messaging the public may be using in recognizing human trafficking. Using policy feedback theory as the theoretical lens, the purpose of this quantitative study was to compare mean awareness scores for both film and social media to determine if there was a statistically significant difference between the scores and their degree of public awareness. Data were collected through an online survey, which included questions related to both film and social media, using a participant pool service. The survey measured awareness of human trafficking with a sample of 100 participants who included diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, races, genders, and ages. These data were analyzed using an independent-samples t test where the participants' awareness scores were compared for the 2 awareness strategies tested. The findings indicated that there is a statistically significant difference between film and social media at creating awareness of the phenomenon, with film being statistically higher. The implications for positive social change stemming from these results include recommendations for further research to be performed on human trafficking, specifically human trafficking awareness strategies. With improved anti-trafficking awareness strategies and a more informed public, the number of individuals affected by human trafficking will diminish and, eventually, the issue will cease to exist.

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