“A headscarf among the turbans”: how policy entrepreneurs optimize focusing events
Arch, Sandra C.
SOCIOLOGY “A HEADSCARF AMONG THE TURBANS”: HOW POLICY ENTREPRENEURS OPTIMIZE FOCUSING EVENTS SANDRA C. ARCH Thesis under the direction of Holly J. McCammon In their Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report), the United States Department of State began ranking other countries on their efforts to combat human trafficking on an annual basis, starting in 2001 . Nigeria is the only country in Africa to sustain an upward trajectory, maintaining its Tier 1 ranking for three consecutive years without moving down. Employing a case-oriented, comparative analytic approach (e.g., Ragin 1987; Tilly 1984), this study formulates an explanation for Nigeria’s status as a special case, comparing the country with Ghana. Further, conceptualizing the United Nations convention in Palermo, Italy in December 2000 as a focusing event that brought attention to the issue of human trafficking, the present study analyzes the role of national elite allies in exploiting these international focusing events. The findings show that the Nigerian vice president’s wife played a key role in translating the focusing event of the United Nations conference into the political will necessary to launch a sustained national effort to combat human trafficking, resulting in the passage of anti-trafficking legislation and increased cooperation between anti-trafficking non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the state, and a network of elite allies across the country. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implication of the findings for international organizations interested in promoting the implementation of international protocols at the national level, as well as for studies of social movements in general and studies of the anti-human trafficking movement in particular.