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Delivering Justice for Human Trafficking Survivors: Implications for Practice

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2018
21 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 findings for a practitioner audience; recommendations for service provision, the criminal justice system, and policy obtained from interviews with survivors and stakeholders; and a tool developed for practitioners to engage with trafficking survivors and map their needs and priorities over time.


The study drew from qualitative interviews with 80 survivors of sex and labor trafficking and 100 human trafficking stakeholders. The findings show that trafficking survivors were primarily referred to service providers by criminal justice personnel, mostly law enforcement. Compared to labor-trafficking survivors, sex-trafficking survivors were more likely to be referred to service providers by criminal justice officials. Self-referral was most common for labor-trafficking survivors. Survivors' primary concern was obtaining temporary housing to achieve stability and separation from their traffickers. Foreign-born survivors with expired work visas or pending deportation orders were also concerned about their immigration status. The services most frequently provided to survivors included housing and immigration assistance. Survivors cited a non-judgmental attitude as the most important attribute for service providers in gaining their trust, followed by allowing survivors to make their own choices about the services they needed. Survivor recommendations are provided for service providers, law enforcement personnel, immigration personnel, court personnel, policymakers, and other survivors. Recommendations for stakeholders pertain to service providers, law enforcement personnel, court personnel, and policymakers. The Survivor-Led Justice Inquiry Tool presented enables trafficking survivors to direct "justice goals," i.e., to indicate the actions they believe will result in justice and positive outcomes for themselves. 3 figures

Date Published: March 1, 2018