The Cause and Consequence of Human Trafficking: Human Rights Violations
On the surface, it is quite apparent that human trafficking or modern day slavery is awful, disgusting, violent, targeted towards the most vulnerable populations in society, and illegal. What’s missing from many conversations on human trafficking, however, are the many human rights that are violated in the name of human trafficking. This book, “The Cause and Consequence of Human Trafficking: Human Rights Violations” centers this important issue. Kara Napolitano, of the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking, once used the phrase, “The Cause and Consequence of Human Trafficking: Human Rights Violations” in an interview on the systemic forces under-girding human trafficking. It eloquently captures the essence and realities of human trafficking and that is how the authors came about in entitling this book. When a person’s human rights are violated, it makes them vulnerable to gross mistreatment. When this mistreatment rises to the level of human trafficking, then additional human rights are violated during the trafficking ordeal. It looks like this in reality…
A well-known African Proverb asserts that “It takes a village to raise a child!” The authors completely agree with this observation. In step with this wisdom, the authors would argue that “It takes a world to eradicate slavery!” Slavery is around today and it has been around for centuries. Despite its persistence, it does not make it right. All humans deserve to live freely. The United Nations (UN) issued the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. The UN did this in an attempt to bring attention to the inalienable rights of all people (United Nations, 1948). The UDHR contains 30 articles. These articles address civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights (United Nations, 1948). The UDHR states that all humans are equal in dignity and worth. Articles 2–15 address political and individual freedoms. Articles 16–27 address economic, social, and cultural rights. Articles 28 and 29 address collective rights among and between nations and Article 30 states that no one can take away a person’s human rights (United Nations, 1948). Although Article 30 prescribes that no one’s human rights cannot be arbitrarily violated, it happens on a daily basis. Trafficked persons have their civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights violated time and time again while under the control of a trafficker. According to the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (2019), frequently violated human rights of trafficked persons include:
Article 1: The right to be free.
Article 2: The prohibition of discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status
Article 3: The right to life, liberty and security of person
Article 4: The right not to be subjected to slavery or servitude
Article 5: The right not to be subjected to torture and/or cruel, inhumane, degrading treatment or punishment
Article 8: The right to an effective remedy
Article 13: The right to freedom of movement
Article 14: The right to seek asylum
Article 17: The right to freedom of association
Article 23: The right to just and favorable conditions of work
Article 24: The right to rest and leisure
Article 25: The right to an adequate standard of living and social security
Article 26: The right to an education
As demonstrated in the above UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights Articles, many of these human rights are often denied to: impoverished women, men and children all over the world; people of color as a whole; many people in developing countries; immigrants/migrants/asylum seekers; and people where corrupt governments rule even when the person is not trafficked. By virtue of membership in one or more of these groups, some people’s human rights are routinely violated as a part of life. For instance, due to an inability to find employment and earn a livable wage [Article 23], for instance, some of these individuals will become desperate and especially vulnerable to being manipulated, deceived, coerced or forced into a trafficked situation under the guise of pursuing legitimate employment. Desperation leads to extreme vulnerability and high risk for gross mistreatment—including being trafficked. As if human rights violations are not bad enough prior to a trafficking situation, it actually gets worse for virtually all trafficked persons. Once under the control of a trafficker, the person will be further subjected to human rights violations that may escalate to gendered violence (sex trafficking/sexual assault), lack of access to healthcare as needed, restricted movement, poor housing/living conditions, persistent threats to one’s life, lack of protection/process when arrested, nonpayment of wages, and inhumane treatment as a whole—to start. It could also lead to death. The violations vary and often present in tandem with one another for a trafficked person. Human rights violations are the most egregious offences committed BY humans TOWARD humans.
Human rights are inalienable and fundamental rights that must be afforded to all people. They are legal, ethical and social in principle and must be embedded in the infrastructure of each nation in the form of policies, practices and legislation (Enrile, 2018). Therefore, in this chapter, it is important to reiterate that understanding human rights as broken down in Chapter 1: Social Work, Social Justice, Human Rights and Human Trafficking is critical. This is an imperative. Anyone wanting to understand human trafficking must understand human rights and how the violation of human rights is a cause and consequence of human trafficking.
In an effort to provide you with a context for how scholar activists, varied governments, governmental organizations and non-governmental agencies (NGOs) are fighting trafficking, the authors have compiled a list of individuals and organizations that have taken on this work. The content shows you how researchers and organizations play integral roles in addressing it, supporting victims, and creating legislation to criminalize perpetrators. This chapter highlights the work of a limited number of scholars from multiple disciplines who engage in anti-trafficking scholarship. It also highlights several organizations that engage in these activities.
Scholarship on Human Trafficking
The following article abstracts give the reader a sense of the breadth of scholars in the anti-trafficking arena. Due to the complexity of human trafficking, it requires scholars from the arts & entertainment, criminal justice, dentistry, dietetics, informatics, law, law enforcement, media & technology, medicine, migration, nursing, political science, public affairs, public health, social work, and so many other disciplines to address the issue. Here, just some of these disciplines are represented by a select group of scholars.
Dandurand, Y. (2017). Human trafficking and police governance. Police Practice & Research, 18(3), 322-336. DOI: 10.1080/15614263.2017.1291599
Human trafficking in its various forms continues to offer significant challenges for law enforcement agencies. There is a growing body of research that addresses some of the police governance and management issues associated with the prevention and control of human trafficking and the protection of victims of this type of crime. This article reviews the literature on the implementation of effective detection, investigation, prosecution, and victim protection strategies; the need for more effective international cooperation; and, the struggle to keep up with the illusive criminal organizations and networks that often defy law enforcement tactics. It also considers some of the specific challenges that result from the frequent conflation of human trafficking enforcement with immigration control strategies. It offers a few suggestions on how these issues may be addressed from a police governance standpoint and concludes with a call for better data on human trafficking and the relative effectiveness of different law enforcement strategies.
Farrell, A., Bouche, V., & Wolfe, D. (2019). Assessing the impact of state human trafficking legislation on criminal justice system outcomes. Law & Policy, 41(2), 174-197. DOI: 10.1111/lapo.12124
Since 2003, state legislatures in the United States have been active in passing legislation aimed at combating human trafficking. To date, all states have passed laws that criminalize acts of human trafficking, though with significant variation in the penalty structure and associated legal provisions. This article examines what aspects of state human trafficking laws are most impactful at increasing the arrest and prosecution of human trafficking suspects. Using panel data on state laws and associated enforcement actions from 2003 to 2012, this study confirms that more comprehensive state laws that invest in anti-trafficking resources are most strongly associated with human trafficking arrests and prosecutions. States that make legislative provisions for victim assistance, law enforcement training, statutory task forces, and mandatory reporting have higher anti-trafficking criminal enforcement. The political environment in which state human trafficking laws are enacted also influences their enforcement.
Farrell, A. & Cronin, S. (2015). Policing prostitution in an era of human trafficking enforcement. Crime, Law, & Social Change, 64(4/5), 211-228. DOI: 10.1007/s10611-015-9588-0
Prostitution and commercialized vice have been variously prioritized as urban crime problems across U.S. history. In response, lawmakers have historically been guided by a prohibititionst view where people selling, buying or facilitating the sale of sex are considered to be immoral and criminal. In recent years, public concern about the trafficking of persons for sex has reframed prostitution and the expectations of government response. The U.S. federal government and all fifty states have passed legislation that is guided by an abolitionist view of prostitution where people who are forced or coerced to sell sex are redefined as victims. State, county and municipal police officers are now receiving training on how to identify human trafficking cases and investigators are being trained to investigate and prepare cases for prosecution. Despite these efforts under the new legal regime, confusion exists about how sex trafficking differs from prostitution and correspondingly necessitates different types of law enforcement responses. Adding to this complication is the fact that in many major cities the responsibility for identifying and eradicating human trafficking has fallen to the same group of investigators who are responsible for enforcing vice and prostitution laws. As a result, prostitution enforcement is expected to change as police increasingly focus on identifying sex trafficking victims. Using data on police arrests for prostitution from 1980 to 2012, we examine the impact of federal and state anti-trafficking legislation on the local enforcement of prostitution. Our findings inform debate about legal reform as a response to urban crime problems and illustrate the complexities of policy implementation and interpretation.
Kulig, T. & Butler, L. (2019). From “whores” to “victims”: The rise and status of sex trafficking courts. Victims & Offenders, 14(3), 299-321. DOI: 10.1080/15564886.2019.1595242
Views of people involved in the commercial sex trade have shifted. Once seen as prostitutes or “whores,” they are increasingly perceived as exploited “victims.” The behavior associated with commercial sex has been redefined from voluntary and disreputable to coerced and deserving of rescue. This new framework is part of a broader anti-trafficking movement in society to recognize and save vulnerable individuals who are exploited for sex. In this context, the model of problem-solving or specialty courts has been extended to sex trafficking cases. The goal first is to identify trafficking victims–also known as “victim-defendants”–and then to address their risk factors with services. The current review examines the prevalence and the effectiveness of sex trafficking courts. Although some promising evaluations have been conducted, it remains unclear whether such courts are addressing the unique needs of victim-defendants. Investigating this question is essential, given that trafficking courts are likely to grow in popularity and in number.
Van Der Watt, M. & Van Der Westhuizen, A. (2017). (Re)configuring the criminal justice response to human trafficking: A complex-systems perspective. Police Practice & Research, 18(3), 218-229. DOI: 10.1080/15614263.2017.1291560
The multidimensional complexities associated with the criminal justice response to human trafficking are well documented. The transient and subversive nature of human trafficking as organised crime and the large number of multidisciplinary role-players involved in coordinating cross jurisdictional efforts to prevent, investigate and prosecute such cases, contribute to this complex undertaking. Complex systems theory suggests that a complex social problem such as human trafficking cannot be approached by using a linear or simplified lens, and requires a holistic perspective on the complex interactions between actors, and emergent behaviour in both the criminal justice system and the human trafficking system that it seeks to combat. This paper explores the characteristics of complexity, and uses illustrations from the lived experiences of actors in South Africa’s efforts to combat human trafficking, in order to demonstrate how complex systems theory could be considered and integrated into the criminal justice response to human trafficking.
Villacampa, C. & Torres, N. (2017). Human trafficking for criminal exploitation: The failure to identifying victims. European Journal on Criminal Policy & Research, 23(3), 393-408. DOI: 10.1007/s10610-017-9343-4
Human trafficking for criminal exploitation is one of the lesser-known forms of human trafficking. The failure of the criminal justice system to identify the victims of this type of trafficking can lead to a failure to take the victim-centered approach to trafficking espoused in the international legal instruments that regulate the matter, an approach that emphasizes the protection of victims and respect for their rights. In light of earlier findings of the existence of unidentified victims of human trafficking for criminal exploitation in several European countries – the UK, Ireland, Spain, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands – a qualitative study was conducted, consisting of 37 in-depth interviews with practicing criminal justice professionals and victim service providers in Spain. Because undetected victims of human trafficking for criminal exploitation are usually treated as offenders, the main aim of this research with professionals was to determine the causes of the criminal justice system’s failure to identify the victims of this specific form of trafficking in order to prevent them from remaining hidden victims.
Ward, T. & Fouladvand, S. (2018). Human trafficking, victims’ rights, and fair trials. Journal of Criminal Law, 82(2), 138-155. DOI: 10.1177/0022018318761680
Cases of human trafficking are known to be difficult to prosecute. In this article we identify several issues in the law of evidence that may contribute to these difficulties. We argue for the victims’ rights as an important factor in evidential decisions, coupled with an insistence that such rights cannot trump the defendant’s right to a fair trial. Restrictions on evidence of a witness’s bad character or sexual history should not be interpreted in such a way as to prevent the defence from introducing evidence, or asking questions, that are of substantial probative value, even if they are potentially distressing to witnesses; but such evidence and questioning should be limited to what is necessary for a fair trial. The protection of victims and witnesses may also justify a relatively flexible approach to the admission of hearsay evidence, which avoids prejudging the truth of a witness’s evidence in order to establish that s/he is in fear.
As human rights education (HRE) becomes a more common feature of international policy discussions, national textbook reform, and post-conflict educational strategies, greater clarity about what HRE is, does, and means is needed. This article reviews existing definitions and models of HRE, and argues that ideology—as much as location or other variables—offers a means of schematizing varying approaches to HRE. This article reviews models organized around principles of global citizenship, coexistence, and transformative action in the context of one nation-state (India), and suggests that the mutability and adaptability of human rights education are its strength.
Lemke, M. (2017). Trafficking and immigration policy: Intersections, inconsistencies, and implications for public education. Educational Policy, 31(6), 743-763. DOI: 10.1177/0895904817719528
A growing body of interdisciplinary research examines the dynamics of, policies concerning, and implications of large-scale contemporary displacement in the United States. Yet less of this research explores the intersections of policies concerned with and normative understandings of displacement as both relate to U.S. schooling. This article discusses distinctive features of global displacement also highlighting concerns about student experience within the current political climate. It then synthesizes key U.S. policies and interdisciplinary literature that address aspects of displacement, including immigration, human trafficking, and asylum. In doing so, it illuminates how laws designed to protect vulnerable youth populations often conflict with the goals and normative politics of immigration enforcement. It concludes with implications for educational policy research and practice within U.S. schools serving high percentages of displaced populations.
Human trafficking is a complex, highly profitable, and increasingly widespread social problem impacting countries across the globe. This article will provide an overview of international and national human trafficking and highlight the development and implementation of high-impact advocacy skills using course content to enhance student learning. Assignment examples related to community engagement and student advocacy activities will also be described. This article seeks to inspire educators to embrace multifaceted high-impact approaches as a means to educate and promote the development of student advocacy skills, preparing students to speak up and educate others on contemporary social problems impacting human rights.
Transnational human rights activism occupies today a significant place in the practice and scholarship of current global affairs. This article reviews the past successes and limits of this activism and suggests Human Rights Education (HRE) as a strategic tool currently underutilized by activists and rarely taken seriously by academics. We argue that the current practice of transnational human rights activism frequently lacks solid and reciprocal ties to local activists and emphasizes “shaming” and exposure of human rights abuses over their prevention. The professionalization and campaign driven character of rights activism often increases the distance between transnational activists and local causes and beneficiaries and disconnects the general public from human rights struggles. While claims of impartial activism based on legalistic strategies have the benefit of lifting human rights groups above the fray of politics, the promotion of human rights norms remains a deeply political and contentious struggle. We argue that a greater emphasis on HRE strengthens transnational ties and local support for international human rights standards and leads to societal mobilization beyond the narrow nongovernmental sector.
Preble, K., Cook, M., & Fults, B. (2019). Sex trafficking and the role of institutions of higher education: Recommendations for response and preparedness. Innovative Higher Education, 44(1), 5-19. DOI: 10.1007/s10755-018-9443-1
In the perceptions of most persons, sex trafficking is a recognized global human rights abuse. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has articulated a call to action with its four “P” policy agenda: prevent, protect, prosecute, and partnership (Office of Trafficking in Persons, 2017). Institutions of higher education are positioned to bolster these initiatives through research, work force and policy development, and education. It is our purpose with this article to begin a discussion within academic institutions and the field of sex trafficking to explore what actions might assist survivors who wish to pursue higher education as well as what protections should be in place to serve students who may become victimized while attending an institution of higher education. We consider human trafficking, the role of institutions of higher education, current policies related to colleges and universities, the vulnerability of college age individuals to potential trafficking, and the unique needs of those who exit trafficking and enter higher education. We offer some recommendations that will enable institutions to engage with and address the intersection of sex trafficking and higher education.
Suarez, D. (2007). Education professionals and the construction of human rights education. Comparative Education Review, 51(1), 48-70. DOI: 10.1086/508638
This article builds on previous comparative education research by analyzing the current discourse surrounding this emerging education model— human rights education. The first section provides a brief history of human rights education in formal education. The second section reviews research on international reforms, emphasizing analyses of processes in global diffusion and variation at national or local levels. Closely related, the third section discusses linkages and relational and associational processes that spread ideas and construct new models such as human rights education. The fourth section focuses on the current state of human rights education, exploring the creation of an epistemic community of human rights educators and the theorization (Strang and Meyer 1993) of human rights education within the community. Specifically, the section analyzes discussions among members of the epistemic community about why to teach human rights education, how to teach human rights education, and how to assess the reform. Discussions among education professionals help to demonstrate the active debates about the content of human rights education and clarify how education professionals integrate the human rights movement into part of the education process. In addition, the interactions among education professionals highlight the intermediate step between global diffusion and local adaptations or responses. Education professionals translate global models of human rights education into local contexts, but professionals also help to build and refine the content of human rights education.
The author presents three approaches to contemporary human rights education practice: the Values and Awareness Model, the Accountability Model and the Transformational Model. Each model is associated with particular target groups, contents and strategies. The author suggests that these models can lend themselves to theory development and research in what might be considered an emerging educational field. Human rights education can be further strengthened through the appropriate use of learning theory, as well as through the setting of standards for trainer preparation and program content, and through evaluating the impact of programs in terms of reaching learner goals (knowledge, values and skills) and contributing to social change.
Watson, S., Loizzo, J., Watson, W., Mueller, C., Lim, J., & Ertmer, P. (2016). Instructional design, facilitation, and perceived learning outcomes: An exploratory case study of a human trafficking MOOC for attitudinal change. Educational Technology Research & Development, 64(6), 1273-1300. DOI: 10.1007/s11423-016-9457-2
This exploratory case study describes the design and facilitation of a massive open online course (MOOC) for attitudinal change regarding human trafficking. It examines the course from the learners’, instructor’s, and instructional designer’s perspectives. Two interviews with the instructor and instructional designer were conducted, and data from a sample of learners via an end-of-course survey (n = 54) and follow-up questionnaire (n = 319) were gathered. Learners’ discussion posts and sample assignments were also reviewed. Findings show that the instructor and instructional designer perceived the design and facilitation of the MOOC as highly complex and challenging. Learner feedback was contradictory, possibly due to different expectations and needs within the MOOC. Six instructional design considerations for MOOCs in general and for attitudinal change are discussed, including: (a) MOOCs as a unique platform for attitudinal change, (b) the support needed from platform providers and universities, (c) personal and flexible learning paths, (d) instructional activities for attitudinal dissonance, (e) creating a collaborative community, and (f) MOOC instructor preparation.
Beale, S. (2018). The Trafficking Victims Protection Act: The best hope for international human rights litigation in the U.S. courts?. Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, 50(1/2), 17-47. Retrieved from
The article focuses on use of the Alien Tort Statute as a vehicle for litigating human rights abuses in both civil and criminal prosecutions in the U.S. Topics discussed include developments in International Criminal Law in addressing human rights violations; judicial attitudes that could affect the interpretation of the Trafficking Victim Protection Act; and Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain court case.
Clawson, H., Dutch, N., Lopez, S., & Tiapula, S. (2008). Prosecuting Human Trafficking Cases: Lessons Learned and Promising Practices. (Executive Summary). National Institute of Justice. Retrieved from
In an effort to increase the understanding of prosecutors’ ability to use the tools available to prosecute and convict traffickers while balancing the needs of trafficked persons, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) awarded a grant in the fall of 2006. NIJ awarded, ICF International (formerly known as Caliber Associates, an ICF Consulting Company) and subcontractor the American Prosecutors Research Institute (APRI), a grant to design a study that examined the effects of existing federal and State legislation from the perspective of the prosecution and identified critical challenges and barriers to successful prosecution of cases.
DiRienzo, C. (2018). Compliance with anti-human trafficking policies: The mediating effect of corruption. Crime, Law, & Social Change, 70(5), 525-541. DOI: 10.1007/s10611-018-9780-0
Human Trafficking is an atrocious crime that represents a gross assault on human rights and the United Nations states that it is among the fast growing types of criminal activity. Recognizing the need for counteractive measures, in 2000, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (Protocol). Using measures of country compliance with the Protocol, past research offers empirical evidence that corruption is a primary deterrent to compliance. Further, previous field studies and surveys suggest that a greater share of women in government should positively contribute to country compliance; however, this result is largely not borne out in empirical studies. It is hypothesized that the effect of the share of women in government on compliance is fully mediated by corruption, indicating that there is an indirect effect of women in government on compliance, rather than a direct effect. This hypothesis is empirically tested using a mediation model and the results indicate that the indirect effect is statistically significant. The empirical results presented suggest that a greater percentage of women in government reduces country corruption, which in turn increases country compliance with the Protocol. The policy implications of these findings are discussed and include suggestions to enhance female participation in government.
Fouladvand, S. & Ward, T. (2019). Human trafficking, vulnerability, and the state. Journal of Criminal Law, 83(1), 39-54. DOI: 10.1177/0022018318814373
This article looks at human trafficking from a perspective influenced by the ‘vulnerability theory’ developed by Martha Fineman and her associates. It draws particularly on empirical studies of human trafficking from Albania to the UK and elsewhere. It suggests that Fineman’s approach needs to be modified to see the state not only as ameliorating vulnerability, or failing to do so, but as actively creating and using vulnerability to control or exploit its population. The fact that people are placed, for political, social and economic reasons, in situations of heightened vulnerability does not of itself deprive them of agency or responsibility. People should, however, be understood as ‘vulnerable subjects’ whose capacity for autonomy may be lost when they are deprived of supportive social relationships. The implications of this view for the criminal responsibility of trafficking victims are explored.
Johnson Jr., C., Beraldi, F., Broecker, E., Brown, E., & Maslow, S. (2019). The business case for lawyers to advocate for corporate supply chains free of labor trafficking and child labor. American University Law Review, 68(5), 1555-1619. Retrieved from
This Article considers the legal and ethical obligations that should propel lawyers to advocate for a corporate supply chain free of labor trafficking and child labor–both of which this piece will expose as an extension of the workforce of many corporations. By embracing the business case supported in the Carrol Corporate Social Responsibility Model, this Article continues to champion the Corporate Social Responsibility Model’s economic groundings. Why lawyers? Because lawyers are the guardians of the rule of law, and both human trafficking and child labor are gaps in the rule of law that taint a client’s supply chain and its goods. Despite many excellent laws in this area, the lack of enforcement contributes to this gap in the rule of law. As such, this Article illustrates why lawyers need to be on the vanguard of eradicating human trafficking and child labor in supply chains. It does so by describing, as noted by Professor David Snyder in The New Social Contracts for International Supply Chains, a set of Model Clauses designed to incorporate human rights protections in supply contracts developed by the ABA Business Law Section Working Group to Draft Human Rights Protections in International Supply Contracts. This Article also discusses why other ethical business case rationales such as the rule of law, moral, and legal ethics considerations likewise support the legal profession taking the lead on eradicating labor trafficking and child labor. Finally, the issue of diversity is advanced as a new way to think about solutions to this problem.
Judge, S., & Boursaw, B. (2018). The impact of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 on trends in federal sex trafficking cases. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 29(8), 823-848. DOI: 10.1177/0887403416655430
In this study, we addressed the need for empirical research on human trafficking by compiling unique data relating to criminal charges filed in federal judicial districts and using these data to examine trends in sex trafficking-related cases, as well as the impact on those trends of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA). Results from our regression models indicate that the proportion of all charges filed by federal prosecutors that involved sex trafficking and related cases increased significantly between 1994 and 2007. The rate of increase, however, slowed in the time period following the passage of the TVPA, suggesting that the TVPA may have helped to mitigate increases in new cases. In addition, our results show statistically significant inverse relationships between immigration and sex trafficking-related charges filed, providing new evidence to support the possibility that some sex trafficking-related cases may be being prosecuted as immigration cases instead.
The article focuses on laws governing victimization in commercial sex in the U.S. Topics discussed include country’s approach on individuals involved in the sex industry and prostitution; human trafficking and prostitution courts effectiveness in addressing human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation; and the enactment of Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 for addressing the same.
Planitzer, J. & Katona, N. (2017). Criminal liability of corporations for trafficking in human beings for labour exploitation. Global Policy, 8(4), 505-511. DOI: 10.1111/1758-5899.12510
Legal instruments at the European level clearly define that States have an obligation to establish corporate liability for trafficking in human beings ( THB). The monitoring of the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings shows that, in general, the respective legislation for corporate criminal liability already largely exists in the States’ Parties. However, application of the legislation seems to lag behind, since relevant cases were identified in only a few States. By analysing these legal mechanisms with a focus on Austria, studying case law in Belgium and Cyprus, and conducting interviews with stakeholders, the authors identify obstacles for the application of corporate criminal liability in the context of THB. Based on case law, the paper analyses the potential of corporate criminal liability for exploited persons to have access to compensation and describes challenges in this field. Cases on corporate criminal liability for THB seem to focus on sanctioning the companies and ensuring compensation might be seen as a rather secondary priority.
Small, K., Adams, W., Owens, C., & Roland, K. (2008). An Analysis of Federally Prosecuted Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) Cases Since the Passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. (Research Report). Urban Institute. Retrieved from https://www.urban.org/research/publication/analysis-federally-prosecuted-commercial-sexual-exploitation-children-csec-cases-passage-victims-trafficking-and-violence-protection-act-2000
This study examined the prosecution of the commercial sexual exploitation of children and youth (CSEC) in the United States. The research took the form of a national analysis of federal prosecutions since the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) in 2000, answering the following research questions: (1) Is the United States enforcing existing federal laws related to CSEC? (2) What are the key features of successfully prosecuted CSEC cases? (3) Have the U.S. courts increased penalties associated with sexual crimes against children? (4) What are the effects of CSEC legislation on service providers who work with victims? This assessment provides policy makers with a means of assessing the effects of legislation aimed at combating CSEC.
Medical & Nursing
Dovydaitis, T. (2010). Human trafficking: The role of the healthcare provider. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, 55(5), 462-467. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmwh.2009.12.017
Human trafficking is a major public health problem, both domestically and internationally. Health care providers are often the only professionals to interact with trafficking victims who are still in captivity. The expert assessment and interview skills of providers contribute to their readiness to identify victims of trafficking. The purpose of this article is to provide clinicians with knowledge on trafficking and give specific tools that they may use to assist victims in the clinical setting. Definitions, statistics, and common health care problems of trafficking victims are reviewed. The role of the health care provider is outlined through a case study and clinical practice tools are provided. Suggestions for future research are also briefly addressed.
Fraley, H. & Aronowitz, T. (2019). Systematic review of human trafficking educational interventions for healthcare providers. Western Journal of Nursing Research. DOI: 10.1177/0193945919837366
Human trafficking is a global population health threat. Trafficking minors threatens the safety and well-being of youth. Limited studies measure health care providers’ awareness and attitudes toward trafficking. This systematic review synthesized retrospective and current knowledge and identified gaps in educational interventions aimed at increasing providers’ awareness and attitudes toward trafficking. A systematic search of four databases identified peer-reviewed published papers between January 1, 2000 and September 1, 2018. The Cochrane Collaboration’s Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews was followed. Study quality was assessed using the Downs and Black checklist. The Psychometric Grading Framework was used to assess the validity of instruments. Findings across studies (N = 7) reveal providers (mostly social workers and physicians) have low awareness of trafficking and can have negative attitudes toward victims. Multiphase educational approaches and use of content experts, including survivors, in developing interventions enhanced sustainability of outcomes. Targeting multidisciplinary health care teams, including nurses, enhanced interventions.
Hansen, S., Melzer-Lange, M., Nugent, M., Yan, K., & Rabbitt, A. (2018). Development and assessment of an online training for the medical response of sex trafficking of minors. Academic Pediatrics, 18(8), 965-968. DOI: 10.1016/j.acap.2018.07.009
The article presents a study which examines the use of an online training for medical professionals to improve their trauma-informed responses to sex trafficking (ST) of minors. The study used electronic learning development software and Fisher’s exact test to assess the technology. Results show that the innovative online training helps improve confidence, awareness and knowledge on the provision of medical response to ST victims.
Judge, A., Murphy, J., Hidalgo, J., & Macias-Konstantopoulos, W. (2018). Engaging survivors or human trafficking: Complex health care needs and scarce resources. Annals of Internal Medicine, 168(9), 658-663. DOI: 10.7326/M17-2605
Human trafficking, also known as modern-day slavery, is an egregious human rights violation associated with wide-ranging medical and mental health consequences. Because of the extensive health problems related to trafficking, health care providers play a critical role in identifying survivors and engaging them in ongoing care. Although guidelines for recognizing affected patients and a framework for developing response protocols in health care settings have been described, survivors’ ongoing engagement in health care services is very challenging. High rates of disengagement, lost contact, premature termination, and attrition are common outcomes. For interventions to be effective in this marginalized population, challenges in engaging survivors in long-term therapeutic primary and mental health care must be better understood and overcome. This article uses the socioecological model of public health to identify barriers to engagement; offers evidence- and practice-based recommendations for overcoming these barriers; and proposes an interdisciplinary call to action for developing more flexible, adaptable models of care.
Macias-Konstantopoulos, W. (2016). Human trafficking: The role of medicine in interrupting the cycle of abuse and violence. Annals of Internal Medicine, 165(8), 582-588. DOI: 10.7326/M16-0094
Human trafficking, a form of modern slavery, is an egregious violation of human rights with profound personal and public health implications. It includes forced labor and sexual exploitation of both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens and has been reported in all 50 states. Victims of human trafficking are currently among the most abused and disenfranchised persons in society, and they face a wide range of negative health outcomes resulting from their subjugation and exploitation. Medicine has an important role to play in mitigating the devastating effects of human trafficking on individuals and society. Victims are cared for in emergency departments, primary care offices, urgent care centers, community health clinics, and reproductive health clinics. In addition, they are unknowingly being treated in hospital inpatient units. Injuries and illnesses requiring medical attention thus represent unique windows of opportunity for trafficked persons to receive assistance from trusted health care professionals. With education and training, health care providers can recognize signs and symptoms of trafficking, provide trauma-informed care to this vulnerable population, and respond to exploited persons who are interested and ready to receive assistance. Multidisciplinary response protocols, research, and policy advocacy can enhance the impact of anti-trafficking health care efforts to interrupt the cycle of abuse and violence for these victims.
Human trafficking is an egregious human rights violation with profound negative physical and psychological consequences, including communicable diseases, substance use disorders, and mental illnesses. The health needs of this population are multiple, complex, and influenced by past and present experiences of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Effective health care services for trafficked patients require clinicians to consider individual patients’ needs, wishes, goals, priorities, risks, and vulnerabilities as well as public health implications and even resource allocation. Applying the bioethical principles of respect for autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, and justice, this article considers the ethics of care model as a trauma-informed framework for providing health care to human trafficking victims and survivors.
McClain, N. & Garrity, S. (2011). Sex trafficking and the exploitation of adolescents. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecological, & Neonatal Nursing, 40(2), 234-252. DOI: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2011.01221.x
Human trafficking affects a surprisingly large number of adolescents around the globe. Women and girls make up the majority of sex trafficking victims. Nurses must be aware of sex trafficking as a form of sexual violence in the adolescent population. Nurses can play a role in identifying, intervening, and advocating for victims of human trafficking as they currently do for patients that are the victims of other types of violent crimes.
Sabella, D. (2011). The role of the nurse in combatting human trafficking. American Journal of Nursing, 111(2), 28-37. DOI: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000394289.55577.b6
Human trafficking, also called modern slavery, happens worldwide-and the United States is no exception. Within our borders, thousands of foreign nationals and U.S. citizens, many of them children, are forced or coerced into sex work or various forms of labor every year. Nurses and other health care providers who encounter victims of trafficking often don’t realize it, and opportunities to intervene are lost. Although no one sign can demonstrate with certainty when someone is being trafficked, there are several indicators that clinicians should know. This article provides an overview of human trafficking, describes how to recognize signs that a person is being trafficked and how to safely intervene, and offers an extensive resource list.
Schwarz, C., Unruh, E., Cronin, K., Evans-Simpson, S., Britton, H., & Ramaswamy, M. (2016). Human trafficking identification and service provision in the medical and social service sectors. Health & Human Rights: An International Journal, 18(1), 181-191. Retrieved from
The medical sector presents a unique opportunity for identification and service to victims of human trafficking. In this article, we describe local and site-specific efforts to develop an intervention tool to be used in an urban hospital’s emergency department in the midwestern United States. In the development of our tool, we focused on both identification and intervention to assist trafficked persons, through a largely collaborative process in which we engaged local stakeholders for developing site-specific points of intervention. In the process of developing our intervention, we highlight the importance of using existing resources and services in a specific community to address critical gaps in coverage for trafficked persons. For example, we focus on those who are victims of labor trafficking, in addition to those who are victims of sex trafficking. We offer a framework informed by rights-based approaches to anti-trafficking efforts that addresses the practical challenges of human trafficking victim identification while simultaneously working to provide resources and disseminate services to those victims.
Bonilla, T. & Mo, C. H. (2019). The evolution of human trafficking messaging in the United States and its effect on public opinion. Journal of Public Policy, 39(2), 201-234. DOI: 10.1017/S0143814X18000107
Despite a near unanimous agreement that human trafficking is a morally reprehensible practice, there is confusion around what qualifies as human trafficking in the United States. Adopting a mixed-method strategy, we examine how human trafficking is defined by the public; how contemporary (mis)understanding of human trafficking developed; and the public opinion consequence of this (mis)understanding. The definition of human trafficking has evolved over time to become nearly synonymous with slavery; however, we demonstrate that media and anti-trafficking organisations have been focussing their attention on the sexual exploitation of foreign women. We show that general public opinion reflects this skewed attention; the average citizen equates human trafficking with the smuggling of women for sexual slavery. Using a survey experiment, we find that shining light on other facets of human trafficking – the fact that human trafficking is a security problem and a domestic issue – can increase public response to the issue.
Cannon, A., Arcara, J., Graham, L., & Macy, R. (2018). Trafficking and health: A systematic review of research methods. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 19(2), 159-175. DOI: 10.1177/1524838016650187
Trafficking in persons (TIP) is a human rights violation with serious public health consequences. Unfortunately, assessing TIP and its health sequelae rigorously and reliably is challenging due to TIP’s clandestine nature, variation in definitions of TIP, and the need to use research methods that ensure studies are ethical and feasible. To help guide practice, policy, and research to assess TIP and health, we undertook a systematic literature review of 70 peer-reviewed, published articles to (a) identify TIP and health research methods being used, (b) determine what we can learn about TIP and health from these varied methodologies, and (c) determine the gaps that exist in health-focused TIP research. Results revealed that there are various quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis methods being used to investigate TIP and health. Furthermore, findings show that the limitations of current methodologies affect what is known about TIP and health. In particular, varying definitions, participant recruitment strategies, ethical standards, and outcome measures all affect what is known about TIP and health. Moreover, findings demonstrate an urgent need for representative and nonpurposive recruitment strategies in future investigations of TIP and health as well as research on risk and protective factors related to TIP and health, intervention effectiveness, long-term health outcomes, and research on trafficked people beyond women trafficked for sex. We offer recommendations for research, policy, and practice based on review results.
Haase, E. (2014). “Human trafficking, public health, and the law”: A comprehensive analysis of intersections. Journal of Public Health, 22, 121-129. DOI: 10.1007/s10389-013-0603-6
Aim. The extraordinary topic of “Human Trafficking, Public Health and the Law” was subject of an interdisciplinary and international Spring School that took place in March 2013 in Italy. The aim of the meeting was a comprehensive examination of the human trafficking issue.
Subject and method. In collaboration with seven expert lecturers, a group of students particularized the issues and claims related to human trafficking and public health from the angles of all relevant disciplines. Past legal decisions were evaluated in order to recommend future solutions in the common interest with respect to human dignity.
Results. The main outcome of the two weeks of lectures, group work and a field trip are practical approaches and the document: Siena Principles on Human Trafficking and Public Health.
Conclusion. The costs for society that arise due to the adverse effects of human trafficking encompass the degradation of human rights, poor public health, weakened social development, and disturbed communities. Human trafficking therefore is a critical health issue with serious social implications that requires both medical and legal attention.
Macias-Konstantopoulos, W., Ahn, R., Alpert, E., Cafferty, E., McGahan, A., Williams, T., …, Burke, T. (2013). An international comparative public health analysis of sex trafficking of women and girls in eight cities: Achieving a more effective health sector response. Journal of Urban Health, 90(6), 1194-1204. DOI: 10.1007/s11524-013-9837-4
Sex trafficking, trafficking for the purpose of forced sexual exploitation, is a widespread form of human trafficking that occurs in all regions of the world, affects mostly women and girls, and has far-reaching health implications. Studies suggest that up to 50 % of sex trafficking victims in the USA seek medical attention while in their trafficking situation, yet it is unclear how the healthcare system responds to the needs of victims of sex trafficking. To understand the intersection of sex trafficking and public health, we performed in-depth qualitative interviews among 277 antitrafficking stakeholders across eight metropolitan areas in five countries to examine the local context of sex trafficking. We sought to gain a new perspective on this form of gender-based violence from those who have a unique vantage point and intimate knowledge of push-and-pull factors, victim health needs, current available resources and practices in the health system, and barriers to care. Through comparative analysis across these contexts, we found that multiple sociocultural and economic factors facilitate sex trafficking, including child sexual abuse, the objectification of women and girls, and lack of income. Although there are numerous physical and psychological health problems associated with sex trafficking, health services for victims are patchy and poorly coordinated, particularly in the realm of mental health. Various factors function as barriers to a greater health response, including low awareness of sex trafficking and attitudinal biases among health workers. A more comprehensive and coordinated health system response to sex trafficking may help alleviate its devastating effects on vulnerable women and girls. There are numerous opportunities for local health systems to engage in anti-trafficking efforts while partnering across sectors with relevant stakeholders.
Modi, M., Palmer, S., & Armstrong, A. (2014). The role of the Violence Against Women Act in addressing intimate partner violence: A public health issue. Journal of Women’s Health, 23(3), 253-259. DOI: 10.1089/jwh.2013.4387
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is defined as violence committed by a current or former boyfriend or girlfriend, spouse or ex-spouse. Each year, 1.3 to 5.3 million women in the United States experience IPV. The large number of individuals affected, the enormous healthcare costs, and the need for a multidisciplinary approach make IPV an important healthcare issue. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) addresses domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. It emphasizes development of coordinated community care among law enforcement, prosecutors, victim services, and attorneys. VAWA was not reauthorized in 2012 because it lacked bipartisan support. VAWA 2013 contains much needed new provisions for Native Americans; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gay, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals; and victims of human trafficking but does not address the large amount of intimate partner violence in America’s immigrant population. There are important remaining issues regarding intimate partner violence that need to be addressed by future legislation. This review examines the role of legislation and addresses proposals for helping victims of IPV.
Ensuring the well-being of all children is one of the great challenges of our time. Despite concerted efforts in the United States to protect children, research reveals that millions of children suffer harm each year.’ This symposium, which aimed to explore the potential benefits of public health perspectives on child protection, provided an important opportunity to reexamine children’s experiences and child protection strategies from a different perspective. Typically, when policymakers and child advocates speak of “child protection,” they focus primarily on abuse and neglect in the home. Often, child protection does not contemplate violence against children in the community. The inside/outside-the-home divide is somewhat of a false dichotomy, however, as the two realms are interrelated. Children who suffer abuse and neglect in the home are frequently at heightened risk of exploitation outside the home. This essay focuses on the community-based issues of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children, with a view to elucidating the merits of public health approaches to harm against children. Trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children are significant issues in the United States. Although many individuals still think of these problems as occurring elsewhere in the world, these forms of child exploitation occur regularly in the United States, and most experts agree that the number of intra-country trafficking cases exceeds the number of cross-border cases. This essay briefly outlines the current framework for responding to child trafficking. It then discusses what a public health approach could add to anti-trafficking efforts. Finally, this essay seeks to draw lessons from a public health approach to child trafficking that might inform child protection strategies more broadly.
Dalla, R.L., Erwin, S., & Kreimer, L.M. (2018). Children of Mumbai’s Brothels: Investigating Developmental Prospects, Primary Relationships, and Service Provision. Family Relations: Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Science, 68, 104-118. Retrieved from
Objective. To understand the context of the lives of children reared in India’s red‐light brothel districts.
Background. Substantial empirical insight has emerged on the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). Yet the extant literature on brothel‐based children (BBC), a uniquely vulnerable subset of at‐risk children, is paradoxically deficient. Understanding the developmental needs of BBC is critical to mitigating risk.
Method. In‐depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 9 service providers and 30 women residing in 2 red‐light brothel districts of Mumbai. Phenomenological inquiry informed the research methodology and data analysis.
Results. Mothers’ goals for children included survival, academic success, and future employment. Formal services were critical in meeting the basic needs of BBC, ensuring access to developmentally appropriate education, and maintaining safety overnight.
Conclusion. BBC are at considerable risk for an array of developmental challenges. Multisector service providers must work together and with the mothers of BBC to mitigate intergenerational sexual exploitation in the formal sex economy.
Implications. Results provide key areas for further research including longitudinal assessment of BBCs’ educational and occupational outcomes, as well as incidence of complex trauma among BBC and treatment options. Service gaps include outreach to older male BBC as well as shame reduction intervention.
Despite increased effort to respond to human trafficking at national and state levels, very little empirical research has been conducted on domestic child sex trafficking. This study retrospectively examines associations between multiple risk factors and domestic child sex trafficking (i.e., entry into the commercial sex industry under the age of 18) in a sample of individuals aged 16 and older currently involved in the commercial sex industry (N = 273). Two primary research questions are addressed: (1) What set of risk factors, prior to entering the commercial sex industry, are associated with domestic child sex trafficking and (2) what group differences, if any, exist in risk factors between current or former domestic child sex–trafficking victims and non-trafficked adults engaged in the commercial sex industry? A cross-sectional survey was administered using Respondent-Driven Sampling (RDS) in five cities in one Midwestern state. Overall, 115 participants (48.3%) were identified as current or former domestic child sex–trafficking victims. Bivariate results suggest that childhood emotional and sexual abuse, rape, ever running away from home, having family members in sex work, and having friends who purchased sex were significantly associated with domestic child sex trafficking. Multivariate results indicate that domestic child sex trafficking victims were significantly more likely to have ever run away and to be a racial/ethnic minority than non-trafficked adults engaged in the commercial sex industry. Findings can inform state-level policies on human trafficking and assist child protection and juvenile justice agencies in developing prevention and intervention responses to commercial sexual exploitation.
Karandikar, D., Gezinski, L.B., & Meshelemiah, J.C.A. (2011). A qualitative examination of women involved in prostitution in Mumbai, India: The role of family and acquaintances. International Social Work, 56(4), 496-515. Retrieved from
In this qualitative study, 48 female prostitutes from Mumbai, India were interviewed to understand their experiences related to their entry into prostitution. Respondents’ vulnerabilities and the role of family and acquaintances in entry were researched. The findings of the study indicate that poverty, marital abuse, sexual abuse and the death of a parent or husband were the main reasons for entry into prostitution. The majority of the respondents were sold into prostitution by family members or acquaintances. This research provides recommendations for policy, practice and research in the area of sex trafficking.
Meshelemiah, J.C.A. (2016). Human Rights Perspectives in Social Work Education and Practice. Encyclopedia of Social work: National Association of Social Workers & Oxford University Press.
The social work profession has evolved extensively since its inception in 1898. The profession began with a focus on helping others and recognizing social injustices as its core charges. The profession is now being called to view human rights as its professional responsibility, too. As driving forces behind this new charge, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) are taking concrete steps to ensure that the human rights perspective is being integrated into social work education and practice.
Books on Human Rights
The following are a select group of books that discuss human rights in great detail from the perspectives of diverse disciplines and dignitaries.
Bhambra, G.K., & Shilliam, R. (Eds.). (2009). Silencing human rights: Critical engagements with a contested project. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Briskman, L. (2014). Social work with Indigenous communities: A human rights approach (2nd ed.). Sydney, Australia: Federation Press.
Clinton, H.R. (1997, December 10). Remarks by First Lady Hilary Rodham Clinton in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly Adoption and Proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. New York: United Nations.
Chomsky, N. (1999). The umbrella of U.S. power: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Contradictions of U.S. Policy. The Open Media Pamphlet Series #9. New York: Open Media.
Donnelly, J. (2003). Universal human rights in theory and practice (2nd ed.). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Donnelly, J., & Whelan, D.J. (2018). International human rights: Dilemmas in world politics. New York: Routledge.
Dunbar-Ortiz, R. (2014). An Indigenous people’s history of the United States. Boston: MA: Beacon Press.
Ennals, R. (2007). From slavery to citizenship. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Fagan, A. (2009). Human rights: Confronting myths and misunderstandings. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.
Gearon, L. (2003). The human rights handbook: A global perspective for education. Sterling USA: Trentham Books.
Kendi, I.X. (2016). Stamped from the beginning: The definitive history of racist ideas in America. New York: Nations Books.
Mayor, F., & Droit, R. (1998). Taking action for human rights in the twenty-first century. Geneva: UNESCO Publishing.
Neier, A. (2012). The international human rights movement: A history. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Pruce, J.R. (Ed.). (2015). The practice of human rights. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Reichert, E. (2011). Social work and human rights: A foundation for policy and practice (2nd ed.). New York: Columbus University Press.
Stamos, D.N. (2013). The myth of universal human rights: Its origin, history, and explanation along with a more humane way. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.
This section focuses on the international organizations that fight human trafficking. The list is not exhaustive.
Agape International Missions
Agape International Missions was founded in 2005 by Don and Bridget Brewster who moved to Cambodia after learning about rampant sex trafficking. Their focus is on preventing human trafficking. They also engage in rescuing, restoring, and reintegrating survivors into society
Anti-Slavery International is a UK-based organization with over 180 years of anti-trafficking efforts to speak of. Using their theory of change, this organization works in the UK, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Tanzania, India, Lebanon, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Nepal to fight descent-based slavery, forced child begging, child domestic workers, debt bondage, migrant women, bonded labor, and other forms of trafficking. Their macro approach to anti-trafficking work includes working to develop major laws against slavery, offering a 24-hour hotline and mobilizing communities to demand respect for their human rights.
Child Rescue Nepal
Child Rescue Nepal is an organization that focuses on child rescues, support, and reunifications, prevention, and prosecutions. They work closely with the local police to raid organizations where children are held captive; provide basic necessities for rescued children; and work to reunify children with their families.
ECPAT International is a large international organization with 109 members in 96 countries of varying sizes that include national coalitions and small grassroots organizations. ECPAT coordinates research efforts and actionable steps to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children. They also coordinate efforts around advocacy for children. Specifically, ECPAT supports shelters for survivors, training for law enforcement, and conducts research.
Free the Slaves
Free the Slaves has a mission: liberating slaves and changing the conditions that allow slavery to persist. Its vision includes a community-based model for freedom. Since its inception in 2000, Free the Slaves community-based mode for freedom has resulted in over 14,000 people freed from slavery and 300 traffickers arrested.
Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW)
Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women is an alliance of 80 non-governmental organizations in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America & the Caribbean (LAC), and North America. As systems thinkers, GAATW links trafficking with gender, migration, and labor frameworks. They engage in advocacy, research, and communications based on their rotational three-year strategic thematic directions.
HAART stands for Awareness Against Human Trafficking. It is a non-governmental organization in Nairobi, Kenya, that fights trafficking in Kenya and other parts of East Africa. It was founded in 2010 by lawyers, missionaries, and humanitarians. This organization works on efforts related to: prevention of trafficking, victim protection, and the prosecution of offenders.
International Justice Mission (IJM)
International Justice Mission boasts of being the largest anti-slavery organization in the world. They work to set slaves free, incarcerate traffickers, and stop slave trading forever. They also address land theft, sex trafficking, police abuse of power, citizenship rights abuse, sexual violence against children, and labor trafficking.
La Strada International
La Strada International (LSI) operates from a human rights perspective among eight member states in Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Macedonia, Moldova, the Netherlands, Poland, and Ukraine. This European organization adopts a collaborative approach to service delivery that asserts that trafficked persons are in control of their agency and not passive actors in need of instructions and rescue.
Reaching out Romania
Reaching out Romania has been in operation since 1998. It primarily serves Romanian women and girls who have traveled and suffered sexual abuse in European countries. Their focus is on saving and improving lives. To date, they have assisted over 470 trafficking victims.
Shared Hope International
Shared Hope International has a single mission: to eradicate sex trafficking. Its three prong approach include 1) prevention; 2) restoration through strategic guidance and funding for local organizations in an effort to expand shelter housing and services; and 3) to bring justice by accelerating legislative and policy solutions.
This section focuses on the domestic organizations that fight human trafficking. The list is not exhaustive.
ECPAT – USA
ECPAT – USA’s mission is to protect every child’s human right to live free of trafficking and threats of sexual exploitation. It is a member of ECPAT International. It engages in legislative advocacy, youth education, community education, and private sector engagement.
The is run by the Polaris Project. It is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls, texts, and live chats from anywhere in the United States, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Call Center has diverse personnel available who speak in more than 200 languages. The National Hotline’s mission is to link human trafficking victims and survivors to critical support and services. This linkage helps victims and survivors to get help and to stay safe. Additionally, the hotline is there to equip the anti-trafficking community with the tools to effectively combat human trafficking.
The National Hotline offers 24-hour access to a safe space to report tips, seek services, and ask for help. They can be reached at 1-888-373-7888 | Text BeFree (233733).
Not for Sale
Not for Sale is grounded in an economical approach to labor trafficking. The “Not For Sale methodology builds viable, successful companies that bake our DNA into the company to create value throughout the whole business — from the sourcing of the goods, to the manufacturing of products, to the way we sell it — and return profits back to the community through our Not For Sale projects. We fight vulnerability to exploitation at its core by strengthening communities with economic opportunity” (Not for Sale, 2016, para 2). Their projects support anti-trafficking efforts in Peru, the Republic of the Congo, Romania, Thailand, the Netherlands, Uganda, the United States and Vietnam.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline is operated by Polaris. Annually, it receives thousands of phone calls, online tip reports and emails. These communications are referred to as signals. These are some of the statistics (national vs Ohio specific) regarding signals and human trafficking cases.
Below, you will find marketing materials in Spanish and English on how to contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
In this section, you will find federal government resources that fall under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Labor. The breadth of departments involved in addressing human trafficking at the federal level indicates the vastness of the problem in the United States. Contrary to popular belief that human trafficking is only a developing nation’s problem, please believe that the United States government would not invest this many resources into a problem if it did not exist in this country. Human trafficking is a blight on this country’s reputation. Human rights are grossly violated every day in every person who is trafficked. America has a serious problem with human trafficking and human rights violations.
Resources & Research: Federal Government Resources
U.S. Department of Justice
Bureau of Justice Assistance
The Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, develops training for law enforcement and communities to identify trafficking in persons and funds task forces based on a sound strategy of collaboration among state and local enforcement, trafficking victim service providers, federal law enforcement, and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices.
Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section
The Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) works to combat incidences of child exploitation and trafficking of women and children. Issues under the CEOS umbrella include child pornography, illegal interstate or international transportation of women and children, international parental abduction, computer-related exploitation of children, and child victimization on federal and Indian lands.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is responsible for investigating human trafficking. The FBI also runs the Innocence Lost Initiative, focusing on sex trafficking of children within the United States.
Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit works closely with Assistant United States Attorneys and law enforcement agencies to streamline fast-moving trafficking investigations, ensure consistent application of trafficking statutes, and identify multijurisdictional trafficking networks.
National Institute of Justice
The National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, funds research on human trafficking in the United States and around the world.
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, implements a number of training and capacity-building initiatives related to the commercial sexual exploitation of children and funds the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces, which investigate Internet-related crimes of child pornography and enticement.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children & Families
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is committed to ensuring that victims of all forms of human trafficking – adults and children; foreign nationals, U.S. citizens, and lawful permanent residents; survivors of labor and commercial sexual exploitation – have access to the support they need to foster health and well-being.
Runaway and Homeless Youth Program
Through the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program, the Family and Youth Services Bureau, Administration of Children & Families, supports street outreach, emergency shelters, and longer-term transitional living and maternity group home programs to serve and protect these young people.
The Family Violence Prevention and Services Program
The Family Violence Prevention and Services Program of the Family and Youth Services Bureau, at the Administration of Children & Families, administers the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, the primary federal funding stream dedicated to the support of emergency shelter and related assistance for victims of domestic violence and their children.
Office of Refugee Resettlement
The Office of Refugee Settlement (ORR), at the Administration of Children & Families, helps refugees and other special populations, such as adult victims of severe forms of trafficking, obtain economic and social self-sufficiency in the United States. ORR is responsible for certifying adult victims of human trafficking so that they may receive federally funded benefits and services to the same extent as refugees. ORR manages the Campaign to Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking—a public awareness Web site to combat human trafficking—and supports the National Human Trafficking Hotline—a referral hotline that connects victims with programs in their local area.
U.S. Department of State
Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons conducts awareness-raising activities, diplomacy with other countries, and funding for international anti-trafficking initiatives.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
The Blue Campaign provides information on training and outreach, how traffickers operate, and victim assistance to help keep the public informed.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services adjudicates applications for T and U visas, which are available to foreign national victims of trafficking. Lawyers and advocates may check on the status of an already submitted case by calling the Violence Against Women Act Unit Helpline at 802-527-4888.
U.S. Department of Defense
Combating Trafficking in Persons
The Combating Trafficking in Persons Program Office establishes policy and ensures that the services, combatant commands, and defense agencies have the necessary tools to prevent trafficking.
U.S. Department of Labor
Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor and Human Trafficking
The Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor and Human Trafficking publishes reports on international child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking and provides funding to combat international child labor.
Wage and Hour Division
The Wage and Hour Division enforces federal labor laws including the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Protection Act and assists with human trafficking investigations involving the violation of these laws.
[The authors gratefully acknowledge the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime, for allowing us to reproduce, [in part/in whole], “Resources & Research: Federal Government Resources”. This list was prepared by the Office for Victims of Crime.
CATCH (Changing Actions to Change Habits) Court
This court serves to try to help women who have been arrested for prostitution. The court views them as victims, not as criminals. Judge Herbert is the presiding officer in this court.
The CATCH Court is a specialized docket that is located at:
Franklin County Municipal Court
375 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Central Ohio Rescue and Restore Coalition (CORRC)
This coalition of community agencies provides information and resources through their 24-hour hotline. CORRC provides free workshops and training on human trafficking. The Coalition focuses on public awareness, social services, law enforcement and legislation.
966 East Main Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Freedom a la Cart Catering
Provides employment opportunities in the culinary arts arena for sex trafficked women survivors.
5000 Arlington Centre Boulevard
Columbus, OH 43220
Gracehaven’s mission is two-fold: to eradicate child sex trafficking in Central Ohio, and to provide rehabilitative, trauma-informed care to survivors. Gracehaven was founded to care for the growing number of victims of domestic minor sex trafficking. More than 1,000 minors are sexually trafficked in Ohio annually. To effectively care for victims and prevent others from being enslaved in this life, Gracehaven employs a comprehensive approach to combating domestic minor sex trafficking:
5000 Arlington Centre Blvd
Columbus, OH 43220
Reins of Freedom
An agency that provides trauma-informed mental health care focusing on children, adults, and families who have experienced sexual abuse/trafficking, while also making services available to those with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and addiction. Their scope of expertise is offering equine assisted psychotherapy, where clients can interact with horses as part of their treatment plan.
3 West Main Street
Westerville, Ohio 43081
The Switch: National Anti-human Trafficking Network
This is a national network providing support, resources, housing, protection to victims of human trafficking, street prostitution, homelessness, and vulnerable youth. SWITCH advocates and works towards awareness, enforcement, community connections, and prevention programs.
178 West Schrock Road
Westerville, Ohio 43081
Several assessment tools that are well established and validated are available to identify human trafficking victims. They include:
Administration for Children & Families. Office on Trafficking in Persons. (2018, January). Adult Human Trafficking Screening Tool and Guide.
National Human Trafficking Resource Center. (2011). Comprehensive Human Trafficking Assessment tool.
Vera Institute of Justice. (2014). Screening for Human Trafficking: Guidelines for Administering the Trafficking Victim Identification Tool (TVIT).
Additional human trafficking screening tools can be found below.
Additional tools are listed below.
The previously stated sources are a good start to getting a sense of the depth of human trafficking in this country and abroad. “It takes a world to eradicate slavery!”
Enrile, A. (2018). Ending Human Trafficking & Modern-Day Slavery: Freedom’s Journey. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.
United Nations. (1948). United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. New York: Author.
[See above websites or hyperlinks for all organizations listed.]