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Understanding and Improving Law Enforcement Responses to Human Trafficking, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2008
255 pages
Based on responses of local, State, and county law enforcement agencies to the National Law Enforcement Human Trafficking Survey ("the national survey"), this report addresses the perceptions of human trafficking held by law enforcement agencies and their preparation to address the problem; the frequency with which law enforcement agencies identify and investigate human-trafficking cases; the characteristics of investigated cases; and the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases.
The national survey found that local law enforcement agencies perceive that human trafficking is rare or nonexistent in their communities; however, agencies that serve larger communities are more likely to view human trafficking as a pervasive problem, particularly sex trafficking. Over half of the law enforcement agencies serving large jurisdictions (over 250,000 population) have investigated trafficking cases. All types of law enforcement agencies, including those serving small jurisdictions, have investigated at least one case of human trafficking. When controlling for size and location, the degree to which law enforcement agencies are prepared to identify human trafficking cases is a significant indicator of whether or not they actually investigate such cases. Nearly 92 percent of law enforcement agencies reported a connection between human trafficking and other criminal networks, such as drug trafficking and prostitution networks. Agencies that have identified human-trafficking cases report using proactive investigative strategies, such as collecting information on human trafficking indicators in the course of investigating other crimes. The national survey was distributed to a national random sample of approximately 3,000 State, county, and municipal law enforcement agencies in the United States. The original random sample was supplemented with all remaining agencies serving populations over 75,000 and all law enforcement agencies working in partnership with federally funded Bureau of Justice Assistance human trafficking task forces not originally included in either the random or large-city samples. Extensive tables and figures and 76 references

Date Published: February 1, 2008