Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2023

Document Type

Honors Project

University Scholars Director

Christine Chaney

First Advisor/Committee Member

Joey Freeman

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Raphael Mondesir, Alyssa Walter


community nutrition, human needs, government programs, long-term support


This research paper aims to assess the challenges associated with human trafficking within the lived experience of refugees, specifically focusing on food security, and the resulting system shaped by existing United States policies and programs. By examining this complex relationship, the study seeks to shed light on the influence of power dynamics on fulfilling basic human needs and to propose more effective strategies for improving food security among marginalized populations.

A comprehensive literature review is conducted, and a community nutrition needs assessment is performed in King County, Washington. Qualitative interviews are conducted with human trafficked organizations, government officials, and experts to gain insights into the specific challenges faced by this vulnerable group in attaining sufficient and nutritious food. Concurrently, quantitative analysis is performed on relevant data sources to evaluate the impact of current US policies on food security outcomes for human trafficked refugees.

Preliminary findings suggest that the association of human trafficking with the refugee experience presents significant obstacles to achieving food security. The study reveals how United States policy, including immigration policies, refugee resettlement programs, and social welfare programs, plays a crucial role in shaping the population’s finite duration of aid. Additionally, the influence of power dynamics inherent in these policies is highlighted, which can further exacerbate the challenges faced by human trafficked refugees in accessing an adequate food supply.

By examining the relationship between United States policy and food security challenges, this research paper contributes to a deeper understanding of the impact of policy on basic human needs, particularly among marginalized populations. The findings underscore the urgency for more effective strategies and interventions to address the obstacles to food security in the United States. These insights have implications for policymakers, humanitarian organizations, and advocates seeking to address the systemic issues contributing to food insecurity and to promote equitable access to nutritious food for marginalized populations.


A project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Scholars Honors Program.

Copyright Status

Additional Rights Information

Copyright held by author.

Copyright Status