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Law Enforcement Response to Human Trafficking and the Implications for Victims: Current Practices and Lessons Learned

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2006
100 pages
This exploratory study examined the understanding of human trafficking among law enforcement agencies currently working on this criminal enterprise, describes how these agencies are responding to it, and discusses the implications of this response for trafficking victims.
A significant percentage of State and local law enforcement personnel in key cities with known human trafficking activity were not fully informed about the nature, prevalence, and patterns of human trafficking. By increasing law enforcement personnel's knowledge and awareness of this crime, they will be better able to seek the support and technical assistance needed to identify this crime, respond to it, and assist its victims. Respondents indicated they were benefiting from human-trafficking response protocols in their daily law enforcement work. Ensuring the availability of such response protocols across law enforcement agencies will improve interdiction efforts and increase the effectiveness of services to victims. Respondents were not generally familiar with the jurisdictional parameters for their work in dealing with human trafficking, nor were they informed about the work of other law enforcement agencies and areas where their work overlapped. There should be increased collaboration among Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies, as well as prosecutors and victim service providers. A total of 121 telephone surveys were conducted with State and local law enforcement personnel in cities across the country with known human trafficking activity. These surveys were supplemented by interviews with supervisors and managers who represented key agencies. Comprehensive legal case reviews were conducted on a random sample of nine closed Federal human trafficking cases in order to examine the role of law enforcement and other key stakeholders in the investigation and prosecution of these cases. On-site discussion forums were conducted with three antitrafficking task forces. 24 figures, 11 references, and appended study instruments
Date Published: October 1, 2006