Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2007, $293,198)
NORC will conduct an exploratory study of the prevalence, context, and characteristics of human trafficking cases and victims across the country. The research team will interview State and local key stakeholders (N=240) about their experiences with human trafficking to collect information about victims, cases, and perpetrators they have encountered in their efforts to combat these activities. A primary focus of the interviews will be on identification of victims and potential victims that have not come to the attention of law enforcement. Using this information, good practices for finding trafficking victims and bringing traffickers to justice will be developed. The PIs will conduct extensive case file reviews, based on the results of the interviews, at four sites to locate cases that could have been charged as trafficking but were not. The overarching goal is to further available knowledge of human trafficking in the United States and expand understanding of how and why it occurs to enable state and local law enforcement find victims. Consistent with the solicitation, the research team proposed the following research objectives: (1) Provide a description of and document the numbers of unidentified victims of severe forms of human trafficking in the United States; (2) Interpret the issues, opportunities, and barriers for law enforcement with victims and building cases, apprehending, and successfully prosecuting traffickers, (3) Identify the characteristics of victims and perpetrators of human trafficking, (4) Determine the relationship between unlawful commercial sex acts and victims of human trafficking, (5) Uncover likely places where human trafficking victims will be found, (6) Examine the barriers encountered by law enforcement and service delivery organizations in certifying victims and developing cases of severe forms of trafficking, including the push and pull factors that initiate and maintain victim's involvement in human trafficking, and (7) Code case files to determine the number of cases that represented trafficking behavior but were charged under another offense.