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Failing Victims? Challenges of the Police Response to Human Trafficking?

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2019
25 pages
Since the police are increasingly called on to combat sex and labor trafficking crimes, this study examined how this new population of victims is served by the police.
Although the police have a duty to assist crime victims, scholars who have examined police effectiveness have historically been less attentive to the police response to crime victims. In the current study, information from a review of human trafficking investigations and in-depth interviews with police and service providers in three U.S. communities indicates that human trafficking victims often do not trust the police and rarely seek their assistance. When the police do respond, human trafficking victims seek affirmation of their experiences and safety from future harm. The recommendations developed from these findings are intended to improve police responses to human trafficking victims, with a focus on efforts to build trust, promote victim safety, and meet the needs of victims outside of the justice system. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: July 1, 2019