Using Online Research to Examine the Impact of Gender on the Effectiveness of the U.S. Mlitary Policy and Education Program Related to Human Trafficking in South Korea
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In 2002, members of the U.S. Congress requested the Department of Defense (DoD) investigate the issue of 'human trafficking' after Fox News and an ensuing Time Asia article suggested to the American public that their soldiers had been buying the sexual services of women who had been 'trafficked' to work at the clubs in Korean camptowns. The result of the DoD investigation was their adoption of a zero tolerance policy for human trafficking and prostitution. In this thesis I examine why the zero tolerance policy is likely to be as unsuccessful in South Korea as it has been found to be in the Balkans. I do this by exploring two primary questions: (1) has the U.S. military facilitated the prostitution and/or trafficking of women in South Korea?; (2) how do patriarchal constructions of masculinity influence attitudes toward trafficking and prostitution among military commanders and soldiers? To answer these questions, I use a multi-method qualitative approach including a historical analysis of primary and secondary sources, a discourse analysis of letters to the editor in Stars and Stripes newspaper, and a computer-mediated discourse analysis of texts on an online forum for U.S. military in South Korea. Due to questions surrounding the ethics of Internet research, I also examine the Canadian Tri-Council Policy Statement and the Code of Federal Regulations in the United States that covers the 'Protection of Human Subjects' in research. I argue that not all Internet research constitutes research involving 'human subjects'. I further look at current ethics review policies relevant to Internet research and discuss the ways in which ethics review boards can engage in "academic gate-keeping". The findings of my research indicate that the DoD has failed to consider sufficiently the various cultural contexts that USFK members bring with them to South Korea, as well as those they encounter once they are there. Without providing USFK members with the background needed to understand the complex phenomenon of human trafficking, the DoD's policies will do little to affect the most important element in the trafficking nexus in South Korean camptowns, that is, the attitudes and behaviours of USFK members.