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