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Indicators of Sex Trafficking in Online Escort Ads

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $597,532)

The goal of this project is to improve sex victim identification and investigations. In order to accomplish this goal the applicant plans to: 1) investigate whether there are indicators that differentiate online escort ads related to sex trafficking with non-trafficking sex work ads; and 2) to determine which specific indicators or combination of indicators are most likely to predict whether the ad represents a case of sex trafficking, broken down by age (minor vs. adult), region, and type of sex trafficking.

Recommendations will be made about how and when escort ads are most useful in identifying trafficking cases, and which indicators or combination of indicators are most likely to identify a case of human trafficking if present in an ad.

Tested indicators will be determined by previous research and focus groups results (law enforcement; victim advocates; trafficking survivors; and non-trafficked sex workers), research will be conducted through case data on closed cases involving escort ads. The ultimate goal of this research is create a practical guide for police and prosecutors that use escort ads as evidence to refer to in analyzing these advertisements more efficiently, and as a basis for jury instructions regarding ads as evidence during prosecution of internet-facilitated sex trafficking cases.

This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law, and complies with Part 200, Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR, 200.210 (a) (14). CA/NCF

Date Created: September 6, 2017