Cultural values may also help us understand societal responses to trafficking. In cultures that value individualism (where individuals and/or their families are viewed as responsible for their plight), trafficked individuals or their families may be more likely to be blamed for the choices they made that led to them being trafficked. In societies with strong familial obligations and very limited economic opportunities, poor families may sometimes sell relatives to traffickers with the hope of providing for their families. The examples that follow may help illustrate how understanding culture helps further our understanding of human trafficking.
In employing our sociological imagination, we use macro- and microsociological levels of analysis to analyze the problem of human trafficking. Macrosociology seeks to understand systematic patterns of human behavior that underlie economic, political, and social systems. In the case of human trafficking, macrosociologists are interested in such topics as how and why specific groups of people become vulnerable to trafficking, which groups profit from trafficking, and why such mass and systematic exploitation is tolerated in many societies.
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