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Labor Trafficking in North Carolina: A Statewide Survey Using Multistage Sampling

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Awardee County
San Diego
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2013, $603,357)

The project will produce credible, statewide statistical estimates of the scope of labor trafficking victimization among crop farmworkers in North Carolina and investigate the types of victimization experienced by this population. This project will also compare what is learned about the scope and nature of labor trafficking victimization in the state with the nature and scope of victimization indicated in prosecuted labor trafficking cases involving North Carolina farmworkers for validation and comparison.

Researchers will survey 400 subjects drawn based on a stratified multi-stage probability sampling of migrant dwellings across North Carolina. Specifically, researchers will use a recently developed sampling enumeration strategy that takes into consideration existing census blocks and density of crop farming activities to achieve greater precision in estimates over traditional multi-stage random sampling. Researchers will administer a survey to this sample that uses the same core trafficking measures developed through a rigorous implementation process and validated in the recent study on the scope of labor trafficking victimization among migrant laborers in San Diego County. In addition to using the survey data to produce prevalence estimates, researchers will also provide parametric estimates of the key indicators of labor trafficking victimization among migrant crop workers and establish risk profiles of farmworkers most susceptible to trafficking violations using multivariate statistics.


This application is in response to NIJ’s Supplemental Funding for Labor Trafficking in North Carolina: A Statewide Survey Using Multistage Sampling. Funding is to ensure the continuation of partially funded Award #2013-IJ-CX-0047. All project goals, objectives, research design, and field protocols remain the same as originally proposed. All field protocols have been reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Boards at both San Diego State University and RTI International.
This study applies a multistage GIS-based sampling strategy to gauge the nature and extent of the illicit market involving labor trafficking and other employment abuses among farmworkers in North Carolina. Although labor rights groups and international organizations claim that human trafficking for labor exploitation is a widespread problem, few empirical studies have been conducted to gauge the nature and size of this illicit market, thus raising questions about the validity of various claims behind current counter-trafficking efforts. However, empirical research on human trafficking faces many difficulties in methods and field executions, two of which are particularly challenging: (1) consistency in measurement; and (2) representative sampling of target populations.
In this study, we (1) apply the same core trafficking measures developed through a rigorous instrumentation process in a San Diego study; (2) use a multistage probability sampling method; and (3) measure the scale and scope of labor trafficking victimization in the agricultural sector across North Carolina. We are currently in full field operation and strive to interview 480 migrant farmworkers across North Carolina. This study is among the few empirical efforts to collect primary data on labor trafficking activities. Findings will much needed empirical guidance to policy makers of federal and local governments.
This study began in January 2014 and is expected to run through December 2016. During this third and final year, this research team will continue the following tasks: (1) Data entry and quality control of completed interviews; (2) Preliminary data analysis of gathered data; (3) Review and adjust field protocols based on previous field activities; (4) Continuation of field interview activities. We plan to enter, check, and analyze the data as we are collecting them. We plan to conclude our final interviews by the end of September 2016, as originally proposed and use the remaining months to prepare data for final submission and manuscripts for publications, and present findings among various stakeholders. Specific project activities remain unchanged as originally proposed.

This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law.


Date Created: September 12, 2013