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Human Trafficking Organizations and Facilitators: A Detailed Profile and Interviews With Convicted Traffickers in the United States

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2016
23 pages
Based on systematically collected data and evidence, this study report presents typologies and modalities of human trafficking organizations, descriptions of how these organizations are structured and facilitated, and an assessment of motivations and decision-making processes of traffickers.
The study first examined public-use data and restricted documents held by the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) to identify human traffickers federally convicted and to obtain information on individuals and organizations engaged in sex and labor trafficking. Based on these data, a sampling frame was developed for offenders to be interviewed. Researchers then interviewed a sample of 294 convicted traffickers held in federal prisons. Among the key gaps in the human-trafficking literature addressed by this study are 1) information about human trafficking enterprises derived from systematically collected data; 2) detailed descriptions of how organizations are structured to support trafficking operations and how these operations are facilitated by legitimate businesses or storefronts, as well as money launderers; and 3) information about individual traffickers' perceptions of risks and rewards, particularly, how law enforcement efforts are perceived by individual traffickers and how traffickers respond to these perceptions. Data are also provided on federal human trafficking charges and sentences, characteristics of traffickers and their enterprises, and offender perceptions and justifications. Implications of these findings for criminal justice policy and practice regarding human sex and labor trafficking are discussed. 3 tables, 2 figures, and a review of the dissemination of study methods and findings

Date Published: March 1, 2016