Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2005, $336,177)
The Vera Institute of Justice plans to conduct research on new methods for measuring and assessing the extent and nature of human trafficking in the United States. With its partner, the International Organization for Adolescents (IOFA), and the collaboration of non-governmental organizations, including several member agencies of the New York City Community Response to Trafficking (NYC-CRT) project, the research team will design and conduct a multi-site field test of a new data collection instrument that will identify and gather data on individual victims of trafficking and provide critical information to law enforcement, service providers, and government officials. The research team will work with community and national advisory committees composed of practitioners, law enforcement, medical professionals, and researchers with experience working with trafficking victims and skilled in methodologies useful for working with vulnerable populations. By soliciting the input of experts in the field, the team will create a data collection instrument that serves the dual purpose of assisting service providers in identifying victims and providing researchers with data on victim demographics, migratory and employment histories, criminal networks, and the process of victim discovery.
Following completion of data collection activities, iterative analysis of the resulting data and comparison with what is currently known will enable the team to assess the prevalence of trafficking to New York City, trace the relationships between different characteristics of trafficking victims, and offer insight into trends in the nature and methods of trafficking. In addition to producing this sort of generalizable data about a large sample of victims, the results will also enable Vera Institute staff to draw conclusions about how to implement the data-collection instrument on a national scale, will point to best-practices and standardized protocols for victim-identification, including establishing consensus on definitions of trafficking and victims, and will provide a framework against which to assess investigation, prosecution, and prevention efforts mandated by new federal human trafficking legislation. CA/NCF
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