Feeding the beast : macroeconomic drivers of leadership responses to foreign policy action and the gendered consequences for human trafficking
How do the gendered macroeconomic and macropolitical structures of the international system exacerbate the rise in human trafficking? In this dissertation project, I use a mixed method approach to examine the relationship between domestic leadership responses to foreign policy actions and how those responses lead to rises in human trafficking in the target state. I begin with cross-national, quantitative models to illustrate that following two different types of foreign policy action, namely, economic sanctions and military force, domestic leaders are driven by the macropolitical interstate system to choose between hoarding finite resources among elites within the target state or redistributing those resources among the populace. I argue that when leaders choose to hoard resources, the populace suffers from lack of social program support and women are particularly vulnerable under such conditions. Leadership focus on self-preservation reduces government support for public programs such as anti-trafficking policy. The populace is then much more likely to choose illicit economic activities such as human trafficking to survive and without support for anti-trafficking in the target state, human trafficking flourishes. The macroeconomic structure of global capitalism relies on cheap labor and cheap goods which specifically reduces the options for women under times of financial duress, and women will suffer significantly as government spending on safety net programs is reduced. I support the quantitative results using a qualitative case study on Indonesia, which I develop using historical documents and resources. Ultimately, this project highlights the importance of developing anti-trafficking policies that do more than punish individual perpetrators but instead, acknowledge the negative impacts of the macroeconomic and macropolitical structures in international relations and how those structures significantly harm women throughout the world.