U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Improving Human Trafficking Victim Identification-Validation and Dissemination of a Screening Tool

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2014
455 pages
This is the report on a project that field-tested and validated a comprehensive screening tool for improving victim identification, victim services, and law enforcement efforts on behalf of victims of human trafficking.
The study achieved its validation and evaluation objectives and identified good practices in victim identification. The screening tool accurately measures several dimensions of human trafficking and is highly reliable in its prediction of victimization for both sex and labor trafficking across diverse sub-groups including those distinguished by age, gender, and country of origin. The majority of the questions asked on the three domains - migration, work, and working/living conditions - were significant predictors of trafficking after controlling for demographics. Eighty-seven percent of the questions significantly predicted trafficking victimization in general; 71 percent were significant predictors of labor trafficking; and 81 percent were significant predictors of sex trafficking. Statistical validation determined that a short version of the instrument (16 questions) accurately predicts victimization for both sex and labor trafficking cases. Of the 180 individuals in the sample who responded to the screening questions, 53 percent (n=96) were trafficking victims, and 47 percent (n=84) were non-trafficking victims, i.e., victims of other crimes, such as domestic violence, smuggling, prostitution, or labor exploitation. Of the trafficking victims, 40 percent (n=38) were sex trafficking victims, and 60 percent (n=58) were labor trafficking victims. In designing the instrument, the Vera Institute of Justice worked with 11 victim service providers, collected original data on more than 230 cases from interviews with potential trafficking victims, and conducted case file reviews to determine whether the screening tool could reliably identify victims. This study also conducted focus groups and 36 in-depth interviews with service providers, trafficking survivors, and law enforcement personnel. This assisted in identifying best practices in implementing the screening tool. 188 tables, 26 figures, extensive references, and appended long and short versions of the tool

Date Published: June 1, 2014