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Prosecuting Trafficking in Persons Cases: An Analysis of Local Strategies and Approaches

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $460,000)

There has been relatively little research evaluating strategies designed to address the investigation and prosecution of TIP cases. The proposed study will identify promising state and local responses to TIP in general, and assess the effectiveness of promising strategies, approaches and tools being used to investigate and prosecute TIP cases. Phase I of the proposed study will involve surveying district attorneys across the country regarding their use of promising practices for TIP cases. The survey will provide information regarding the existence and use of various state statutes addressing TIP; data on TIP cases investigated and prosecuted; and initiatives undertaken to address TIP. Phase II will feature in-depth analysis of TIP cases in four jurisdictions: Honolulu, Miami-Dade County, San Diego, and a fourth location to be selected based on the results of the national survey. This second phase of the study will employ a mixed-methods approach. Quantitative data, collected from automated systems and case files in the four sites, will allow us to determine the number of TIP cases investigated, referred and accepted for prosecution; the number charged under state TIP statutes and the number of other charges filed; the length of time to disposition of the case; and the disposition of the case, including trial vs. plea, verdict, and length of sentence imposed. Where possible, we will also seek to measure victim outcomes such as services received and current legal status. The qualitative component of the study will consist of semi-structured interviews conducted with a variety of local stakeholders, including the DA; prosecutors of TIP cases; judges; law enforcement task force or other law enforcement personnel; and victim services representatives. Interview questions will be designed to obtain information on promising approaches and perceptions of their effectiveness; barriers to the successful prosecution of TIP cases; perceived outcomes for victims of TIP; and recommendations for improving policies and procedures for addressing TIP. The quantitative and qualitative data will be used to compare approaches across the four sites. In addition, assessments of specific local initiatives may be undertaken if deemed appropriate by the Project Advisory Group and NIJ. The results of the study will be summarized in two reports to NIJ, one for Phase I and one for Phase II. Scholarly articles and a range over other dissemination products and methods will be employed to share the findings with prosecutors and other policymakers across the country. ca/ncf
Date Created: September 27, 2016