CUP Undergraduate Research

Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2018

Document Type



College of Arts & Sciences



Degree Name

Humanities, BA

First Advisor

Michael A. Thomas, Ph.D.


In 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice funded a report on child trafficking that revealed that Portland, Oregon is one of the national hubs for child sex trafficking. The goals of this thesis are to investigate the web of characteristics of larger Portland metropolitan area that have contributed to the high prevalence of sexual exploitation of women and children. This research is aimed to close the gap in our understanding of the extent and nature of Portland’s local sex trafficking trade. An exploration of Portland’s location and culture, especially its placement on the I-5 corridor, libertine sex culture, and the prevalence of legal and illegal sex businesses, allows us to start to understand the contributing factors of sexual exploitation in the Portland community. This thesis also investigates methods of recruitment and the sorts of persons who fall victim to sex trafficking and the economic structures that underlay this problem. Finally, possible solutions will be suggested to ameliorate sexual exploitation in the “City of Roses.”