The purpose of the study was to examine the impact of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 by answering the following questions:
How are law enforcement agencies organizing their response to human trafficking cases? What are current practices?
What barriers/challenges do law enforcement agencies face in responding to human trafficking cases?
What are the implications of law enforcement responses for trafficking victims?
What barriers/challenges does local law enforcement face in coordinating/collaborating with Federal law enforcement agencies and victim service provides in responding to a trafficking case and meeting the needs of victims?
This study was designed to explore how local law enforcement are responding to the crime of human trafficking. The first phase of the study (Part 1, Law Enforcement Interview Quantitative Data) involved conducting telephone surveys with 121 federal, state, and local law enforcement officials in key cities across the country between August and November of 2005. Different versions of the telephone survey were created for the key categories of law enforcement targeted by this study (state/local investigators, police offices, victim witness coordinators, and federal agents). Each completed telephone survey lasted an average of 60 minutes. A modest compensation was offered to law enforcement officers who were allowed to accept compensation in order to increase participation. The telephone surveys were supplemented with interviews from law enforcement supervisors/managers, representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Human Trafficking/Smuggling Office, the United States Attorney's Office, the Trafficking in Persons Office, and the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division. The interviews were intended to provide information regarding senior management's perspective on the issue of human trafficking, identify barriers and challenges faced by law enforcement, and highlight emerging trends and best practices. On average, key stakeholder interviews lasted approximately 90 minutes. In the second phase of the study (Part 2, Case File Review Qualitative Data) researchers collected comprehensive case information from sources such as case reports, sanitized court reports, legal newspapers, magazines, and newsletters, as well as law review articles. This case review examined nine prosecuted cases of human trafficking since the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) to gather data on the role of law enforcement officials and other key stakeholders (i.e., attorneys, victim advocates, judges, and other court personnel) in the investigation and prosecution of these cases. Staff who conducted the legal case reviews were trained on how to use the case review protocol to ensure that information was reliably extracted from each case.
The sample for Part 1 (Law Enforcement Interview Quantitative Data) was comprised of law enforcement personnel in key cities across the United States. Law enforcement was defined as employees whose primary responsibility is to investigate, apprehend, or detain individuals suspected or convicted of criminal acts, and who work with victims during this process within a public law enforcement agency. Key cities were chosen based on the following criteria:
Known trafficking activity in the communities
Existing contacts within law enforcement and other agencies working in the area of trafficking
Established anti-trafficking task forces and/or comprehensive initiatives aimed at combating trafficking
The cities originally selected were San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, Atlanta, and New York City. To increase sample size, a decision was made to expand the number of target cities for the law enforcement telephone surveys to other key cities within the United States that met the same criteria described above.
Part 2 (Case File Review Qualitative Data) sample included the nine cases of human trafficking prosecuted since the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) in 2000.
The universe for Part 1 (Law Enforcement Interview Quantitative Data) is all law enforcement personnel in the identified key cities between August and November of 2005. The universe for Part 2 (Case File Review Qualitative Data) includes all cases of human trafficking after the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000.
Part 1 (Law Enforcement Interview Quantitative Data): Individual. Part 2 (Case File Review Qualitative Data): Court case.
Part 1 (Law Enforcement Interview Quantitative Data) includes demographic variables such as geographic region, position within law enforcement, years of experience, and language capabilities of the respondent. Respondents were asked about their history of working human trafficking cases, knowledge of human trafficking, and familiarity with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). Other variables include the type of trafficking victims encountered, how human trafficking cases were identified, and the law enforcement agency's capability to address the issue of trafficking. The respondents were also asked about the challenges and barriers to investigating human trafficking cases and to providing services to the victims. As part of the case file review (Part 2, Case File Review Qualitative Data), the research team conducted an assessment of each case focusing on four core components: identifying the facts, defining the problem, identifying the rule to the facts (e.g., in light of the rule, how law enforcement approached the situation), and conclusion.
For Part 1 (Law Enforcement Interview Quantitative Data), 292 individuals were contacted for the telephone survey. Of these contacts, 82 were ineligible to participate because they reported having no familiarity or experience working on trafficking cases. There were a total of 121 completed surveys and 89 non-responses (11 refusals and 78 non-contacts). The response rate for the telephone surveys was 58 percent.
For Part 2 (Case File Review Qualitative Data) response rates are not applicable.
Part 1 (Law Enforcement Interview Quantitative Data): Several Likert-type scales were used. Part 2 (Case File Review Qualitative Data): None.