Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2013, $793,783)
Criminal activity in U.S. refugee and immigrant communities, and criminal justice responses to it, are impacted by both transnational issues and convergence between crime types. This project will focus on the Somali-American diaspora and its involvement in two transnational crimes: radicalization to violent extremism and trafficking in persons. This study aims to build scientific knowledge on these crimes with an emphasis on transnational issues and convergence in contexts of profound community vulnerability and active criminal networks. The co-occurrence of radicalization and trafficking in disadvantaged refugee and immigrant communities warrants an examination to better understand the transnational and convergence issues involved, and how they can inform evidence-based community practices.
The specific aims of the project are threefold. The first aim is to systematically review all known cases of radicalization and trafficking among Somali-Americans using a case study approach to document and characterize the similarities and differences with respect to multi-level risks, protective resources, criminal justice responses and outcomes, and perceptions of law enforcement efforts. The second aim is to conduct in-depth interviews with law enforcement personnel, community advocates, parents, and youth in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Columbus, and Nashville to establish the similarities and differences with respect to how activities involving radicalization and trafficking emerge, develop and impact the community, any convergence issues between the two crime types, and how they are addressed through prevention or intervention activities. The third aim is to design specific community practice strategies for prevention and intervention with radicalization and trafficking in community contexts through convening a series of regional and national workshops with practitioners, advocates, policymakers, and academics based on the findings from the first two aims.
The project will study Somali-Americans involved in either trafficking or radicalization and those associated with the offenders or responding to their violations. To this end, the project will consult with criminal justice and community practitioners, advocates, parents, and youth in the Somali-American community as well as academics and policymakers