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Identifying Community Indicators of Human Trafficking

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $419,643)

The purpose of the research is to investigate correlates of labor trafficking in an effort to identify indicators of labor trafficking that could be used by state and local law enforcement as signals that labor trafficking is taking place in their communities. The first goal is to document the characteristics and indicators of labor trafficking, including component crimes, collateral crimes, and other community impacts. Using a Rapid Appraisal Model, the objectives are: to determine the understanding of local constituencies of what labor trafficking is and identify potential indicators of trafficking; identify current circumstances or individual-level indicators and migration/transportation networks; and identify potential community indicators of trafficking, collateral crimes, and community impact using data from law enforcement and other local agencies, businesses and organizations. The second goal is to provide state and local law enforcement with actionable knowledge to help identify labor trafficking through improving their decision-making and their response to potential labor trafficking in human beings. The objective of this goal is to produce a list of potential indicators of labor trafficking by triangulating findings from the proposed multiple data collection efforts. The project will fill in the knowledge gaps about labor trafficking that may contribute to a paradigm shift in identifying victims and providing services instead of criminalizing victims' activities.

The investigators plan to survey migrant workers, and conduct both focus groups and in-depth interviews with members of community agencies. The investigators already have relationships with agencies in the targeted communities. They will use agency personnel to administer the surveys and to gain the trust of the migrant workers to complete the surveys. Respondents will receive $10 gift cards for their participation. The investigators will employ survey, focus group and in-depth interview methods which will be supplemented by secondary data analysis of community, crime, health and labor characteristics for each targeted site.

The methods will be used to generate a preliminary list of potential community indicators of labor trafficking for each community and integrate the site trafficking indicators into a final list of indicators that will provide state and local law enforcement with knowledge about labor trafficking that will enhance their abilities to investigate trafficking situations and collateral crimes.

The investigators anticipate submitting reports to NIJ and disseminating the findings through presentations and publications for the academic research community, briefing papers to policy makers, articles in trade magazines, and op-ed pieces and press releases to the general public.


Date Created: September 22, 2009