Identifying the Unknown: Challenges and Solutions to U.S. Human Trafficking Investigations


  • Erin M Fordyce University of Evansville


The United States serves as a primary facilitator for anti-trafficking efforts throughout the world. Its yearly published Trafficking in  Persons Report (TIP) outlines the efforts of each country to combat human trafficking. Countries are then classified into four tiers  based on their compliance with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). The United States is a Tier 1 country meaning it fully  complies with the minimum standards of the TVPA. Despite its  successful compliance, the United States continues to encounter problems when investigating human trafficking. Therefore, this paper will focus on trafficking investigations within the United  States. It will provide information on current efforts to combat human trafficking among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Challenges to these investigations will be identified along with potential solutions and lessons learned. After researching studies on current law enforcement efforts, it was determined  agencies need better training to identify the indicators of trafficking, skills for interviewing victims, improved collaboration among agencies at each level of government, and uniform  response protocols. The information provided will be beneficial to not only law enforcement agencies, but anyone who may assist with trafficking cases or encounter trafficking victims.