Stakeholder Positioning and Bias in Existing Research for the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2018 (FOSTA-SESTA)

Investigator: Wendy Kessman, MS
Sponsor: Global Health Sciences Education

Location(s): United States


Background: FOSTA-SESTA allows those who were trafficked for sexual exploitation to hold liable online platforms used for erotic service advertisements. As active participants in the legislative process, stakeholders hold key positions of power, authority, and biases. Stakeholders, both opposed and supportive to the legislation produced research to support their cause. This capstone provides an assessment of stakeholders who played a role in FOSTA-SESTA policy development, and bias in the research they produced. The objective of this assessment is to provide a better understanding of the public narrative and policy framing as well as examine how bias influences positioning and shapes evidence to policy.

Research Question: What is the relationship between existing research and stakeholder positions on FOSTA-SESTA?

Mentors: Laura A. Schmidt, Ph.D., Annesa Flentje, Ph.D.