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Identifying Effective Counter-Trafficking Programs and Practices in the U.S.: Legislative, Legal, and Public Opinion Strategies that Work

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2015
95 pages
In order to determine the effectiveness of efforts to counter human trafficking at the State level, this study examined the impact of various relevant State laws, the effectiveness of prosecutorial strategies for obtaining convictions of traffickers under these laws, and ways to increase public awareness and expectations regarding the countering of human trafficking.
State laws that increase the fiscal and bureaucratic support for anti-trafficking enforcement have increased arrests for human trafficking. Laws that mandate data collection on human trafficking or the reporting of human trafficking have had minimal effect. Most States have criminalized human trafficking, but have not increased their fiscal support or civil remedies to counter human trafficking. It is more important that State human trafficking legislation be comprehensive across all categories rather than being harsh in only one category. Requiring the National Human Trafficking Hotline number to be posted in public places is the most important provision for increasing the number of human trafficking arrests, although this has not been linked to increased prosecutions for human trafficking. The creation and support of task forces to counter human trafficking are the strongest predictors of both State prosecutions of human-trafficking suspects as well as suspects for other types of targeted criminal offenses. Civil provisions are less effective in predicting human-trafficking arrests and prosecutions than State investment measures; safe harbor and civil actions are two civil remedies that strongly predict arrest and prosecutions. When becoming aware of the nature of human trafficking, the public is concerned, but they see no connection between their own attitudes and behaviors and whether they impact human trafficking. This analysis includes an examination of factors that have impacted the outcomes of specific cases of human trafficking.15 tables, 14 figures, 29 references, and appended study instruments

Date Published: November 1, 2015