This report examines challenges faced in the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking in the United States. The research targeted counties across the U.S. for a systematic review of human trafficking case records and interviews with police, prosecutors, and service providers. The study found that there was a significant lack of awareness about human trafficking among practitioners and the law enforcement community, as well as a focus on sex trafficking (which is disproportionate to the larger issue of human trafficking). The study provides recommendations to help improve the identification, investigation, and prosecution of human trafficking cases in the United States.


Report co-produced by the Institute on Race and Justice at Northeastern University and the Urban Institute and submitted to the National Institute of Justice, Washington, D.C.


sex trafficking, crime prosecution

Subject Categories

Human trafficking, Law enforcement, Criminal investigation


Criminology and Criminal Justice


Northeastern University and Urban Institute

Publication Date


Rights Holder

Northeastern University and Urban Institute

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Additional Files

412592-State-and-Local-Human-Trafficking-Cases exec summary.pdf (1104 kB)
Executive Summary