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Expert Working Group on Trafficking in Persons Research Meeting, April 24-25, 2014

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2014
34 pages
This report summarizes the proceedings of a meeting held in 2014 by an expert working group of researchers, Federal partners, law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, victim service providers, and advocates for the purpose of examining the current state of human-trafficking research, identifying persistent challenges, offering solutions, and discussing priority topics for future research.
The working group considered definitions in researchers' and practitioners' discussions of trafficking in persons. One of the three recommendations of the working group is to develop a typology of victimization that is constantly updated and distributed widely so as to better refine changing definitions of victim and survivor. The prevalence of trafficking in persons was also discussed, since statistically sound estimates of its prevalence in the United States is a significant challenge facing researchers. Barriers to prevalence estimates were identified and three recommendations were developed for addressing these barriers. A panel on victims and survivors examined studies of victim services, with attention to incorporating survivors' experiences into policy, programs, and research and evaluation designs. The working group developed seven recommendations for future research on trafficking in persons. Another panel explored the validity of comparing human trafficking research to other research on hidden populations, such as research on violence against women and domestic violence. This panel discussed what trafficking researchers might learn from the successes and mistakes associated with analogous research trajectories. The working group identified several themes for future research on traffickers, such as the use of facilitators to intimidate victims after a trafficker's arrest and the young age of many traffickers. Also discussed were the use of technology to address intractable analysis of online data in identifying potential trafficking cases and the development of tools for investigating child pornography and other exploitative crimes that use online methods. Appended meeting agenda

Date Published: April 1, 2014