Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Criminology

Degree Level



Sociology and Criminology


Shields, Christopher

Committee Member/Reader

Holyfield, Lori

Committee Member/Second Reader

Jones, Austin

Committee Member/Third Reader

Chapman, Kate


This study examines the role of female offenders in sex trafficking rings. Using the Human Trafficking Study database, I found 502 cases that had clear information coded about convictions, sentences, and genders. It was hypothesized that women typically receive a lower sentence than men do. Bivariate analysis revealed that to be true. In addition, I compared conviction rates between the two genders, finding that women are more likely to plead guilty in comparison to men.

Using a smaller sample with additional information, I also isolated the roles that women play in a sex trafficking ring. I found that 48% were categorized in the partner-in-crime role, meaning that most female offenders operate alongside a partner. When these roles were compared to their respective sentences, I found that those in the role of recruiter received the highest sentences. On average, the higher-ranked a role is within the sex trafficking ring, the longer the sentence tends to be. This study compares the treatment of male and female sex traffickers in the criminal justice system.


sex trafficking, human trafficking, female sex traffickers, conviction rate, roles in a sex trafficking ring, sentencing rate

Available for download on Saturday, June 01, 2024