Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2013, $308,694)
This project seeks to gain a greater understanding of the nexus between organized crime and human trafficking. First, researchers will develop, analyze, and publish a database of cases in the United States between the years 2000 and 2012 that include human trafficking and organized crime components, primarily identifying cases through organized crime statutes and then looking for elements of human trafficking therein. The analysis of cases will include quantitative and geospatial components to determine: the organized crime syndicates most engaged in this type of crime, how they operate, with whom they collaborate, common victim characteristics, other criminal activities in which they engage, and the most prevalent locations and general distributions of illicit markets for trafficked persons in the U.S.
Researchers will also conduct motivational interviews with a targeted subset of approximately 20 convicted organized criminals engaged in human trafficking. The interviews will provide a finer-grained understanding of the organized crime structures established around trafficking in persons, as well as provide answers to important questions regarding whether systematic differences exist in how the different organized crime syndicates traffic their victims, how these groups differ in their commission of this crime, and whether and to what degree individuals belonging to these groups could potentially be deterred from engaging in this crime.