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Understanding and Improving Law Enforcement Responses to Human Trafficking: Executive Summary

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2008
14 pages
This is the executive summary of the methodology and findings of the National Law Enforcement Human Trafficking Survey, which was conducted in 2007 in order to determine perceptions of local law enforcement agencies about human trafficking and the frequency of investigations of such cases.
The survey found that local law enforcement agencies perceived human trafficking as rare or nonexistent in their communities; however, agencies serving larger communities were more likely to identify human trafficking, particularly sex trafficking, as a more pervasive problem. The degree to which agencies were prepared to identify human trafficking cases was a significant indicator of whether or not they investigated cases. Nearly 92 percent of law enforcement agencies reported a link between human trafficking and other criminal networks, such as drug trafficking and prostitution. Agencies that have identified cases of human trafficking report proactive investigative strategies, such as collecting information on human trafficking in the course of other investigations. Seventy percent of the agencies that investigated multiple cases of human trafficking between 2000 and 2006 reported investigating only a single type of case, either sex trafficking or labor trafficking. The majority of responding agencies reported spending more time investigating sex trafficking cases. Approximately 62 percent of all trafficking victims identified by law enforcement were younger than 25 years old. Recommendations based on the findings are to develop a human trafficking training curriculum for local law enforcement agencies; develop model protocols for identifying and investigating such cases; broaden the victim-centered focus to include a focus on offenders; and continue to use multiagency task forces. Of the 3,191 surveys mailed to local, county, and State law enforcement agencies, 1,903 agencies completed at least Part I of the survey (preparation for and identification of human trafficking cases). 2 figure

Date Published: June 1, 2008