Scott Decker, Nancy Rodriguez, Vince Webb, Nikos Passas
Though recognition of the importance and severity of human trafficking has grown in recent years, the identification and investigation of human trafficking cases remains a complex undertaking for local law enforcement. Effectively responding to human trafficking requires officers to notice and identify victims who often have been hidden from or had poor relationships with law enforcement in the past (e.g., women in prostitution, migrants, immigrant community member, and poor women). Sometimes officers may be reluctant to intervene in sex and labor trafficking situations due to a belief that victims were complicit with their own victimization. Local law enforcement response is further complicated by immigration issues since many local agencies have made a decision to not inquire about citizen status during routine policing activities as a means of building trust and confidence in the local community. Additionally, the crime of human trafficking may take backseat to other institutional priorities such as violence and drugs. Finally, officers must look at old problems or traditional crime categories such as prostitution through a different lens and therefore reclassify "offenders" such as prostitutes as victims. Since the enforcement of the law in the United States is predominately carried out by the thousands of local, county and state agencies representing diverse environments and local crime problems and coming from a variety of different organizational structures, fully understanding how law enforcement perceives and responds to the problem of human trafficking in the United States necessitates inquiry into the specific experiences of these agencies. The majority of research on law enforcement responses to human trafficking to date has focused on the experiences of a narrow number of large municipal police departments who were perceived to be most likely to come into contact with incidents of human trafficking. In response, this project addresses four main areas: 1) the perceptions of trafficking held by law enf rcement and the preparation agencies have taken to address the problem, 2) the frequency in which law enforcement identifies and investigates cases of human trafficking and 3) the characteristics of those cases investigated by law enforcement and 4) the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases.
law enforcement, human trafficking, study
Criminology and Criminal Justice
Farrell, Amy; McDevitt, Jack; and Fahy, Stephanie, "Understanding and improving law enforcement responses to human trafficking: final report" (2008). . Paper 1. http://hdl.handle.net/2047/d10015802
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Additional FilesQuestionnaire_1.pdf (238 kB)
Questionnaire_2.pdf (666 kB)