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Alternative Forms of Justice for Human Trafficking Survivors: Considering Procedural, Restorative, and Transitional Justice

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2018
16 pages

One of four products from the Urban Institute's study, "Bending Towards Justice: Perceptions of Justice Among Human Trafficking Survivors," this brief presents the study's findings on survivors' experiences with alternative forms of justice, with attention to their perceptions of justice, stakeholder responses, and survivors' experiences with the criminal justice process.


This brief is based on study data from in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 80 human-trafficking survivors (55 women and 24 men) in eight diverse metropolitan sites in the United States. The sample included more survivors of labor trafficking (n=45) than sex trafficking (n=29). Forty-four survivors had participated in a criminal case during the investigation or prosecution phase, with 28 having been defendants in their own cases. Although survivors had extensive experience with procedural justice concepts, only a portion of the sample had experienced restorative or transitional justice practices; however, they found these concepts desirable, suggesting these alternative forms of justice would be a welcome inclusion in the policies of stakeholders who work directly with survivors or influence policy and practice that impact trafficking survivors. Survivors had individualized preferences for various alternative forms of justice, suggesting that survivors' personal preferences for addressing their circumstances be respected and encouraged. Thus, a variety of options should be accessible for them to consider. Survivors' own recommendations included survivor-led alternatives, such as peer mentorship and participation in advocacy for laws and policies that address future victimization. 1 table and 15 references

Date Published: March 1, 2018