Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-28-2014

Course Name

International Studies Senior Seminar


Hilary Parsons-Dick


Historical & Political Studies; College of Arts & Sciences


This paper explores how traditional Mexican gender norms greatly facilitate sex trafficking on the U.S.-Mexico border because of the normalization of violence. In turn, an acceptance of such violence facilitates manipulative practices as related to deception, psychical violence, and psychological manipulation associated with marianismo and machismo. Machismo enables traffickers to use violence against women, threaten their families and children, deceive them with ideas of romance and opportunities abroad, and exploit the benefits of patriarchy and female vulnerability. Meanwhile, marianismo enables trafficking when considering the manipulation of women’s toleration of violence, their strong connections to their families, their limited opportunities for advancement acceptance of blame, the internalization of guilt and shame, and their respect for purity and devotion. As a whole, both gender norms have contributed to the growth of sex trafficking north of the border. Seeing as more, and more victims and traffickers are Mexican nationals, traditional gender norms illuminate the Mexican influence of trafficking networks in the U.S.