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Trafficking in Persons in the United States, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2005
160 pages
This research used case studies (1992-2002) to identify intervention points at each stage of the process of trafficking in persons in the United States.
The case studies came from Southwest Florida, Chicago, and Washington, DC. For each of 12 cases/victim cohorts, researchers conducted interviews with the victim, relevant agencies, community groups, and other individuals involved in the case. The findings presented in this report address the characteristics of trafficking victims, methods traffickers used to recruit and control victims, types of work victims were forced to perform, how victims escaped from the control of traffickers, the nature and effectiveness of law enforcement and prosecution efforts, and the effectiveness of victims services. The study concludes that a lack of understanding of trafficking in persons as a crime, a lack of sensitivity to trafficking victims, a lack of law enforcement training for dealing with the crime, and the public's demand for cheap goods and services all contribute to the continuation of trafficking and forced labor in the United States. Trafficking in persons is largely a hidden crime that victimizes the poor, the uneducated, children, and impoverished immigrants seeking a better life. It is occurring in U.S. cities, suburbs, and rural areas; however, the criminal enterprises that engage in trafficking are small and fragmented, and effective interventions can significantly reduce it. The demand for forced labor can be deterred by increasing the cost of its use, in part by increasing both the likelihood and severity of penalties. The likelihood of apprehension can be increased if all levels of law enforcement are trained to deal with this crime. These actions must be combined with increased public awareness of the problem in the United States and countries of origin, the facilitation of safe and legal immigration, and the improvement of economic opportunities in the developing world. 21 tables and 79 notes

Date Published: March 1, 2005