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Understanding and Pursuing Labor Trafficking Cases Collaboratively – MDPI

1. Introduction

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) was introduced in 2000, defining sex and labor trafficking and creating criminal statutes to facilitate investigations, prosecutions, and provide victim services in the United States [1]. Despite the TVPA, most local agencies required years to begin investigating street level prostitution and residential brothels as potential events. The nuances between labor exploitation and labor trafficking were even less understood. In Orange County, California, labor trafficking wore a face in 2003: Shyima Hall, a 12-year-old Egyptian girl sold to a wealthy Irvine (CA) family in Cairo and who was then was subsequently brought into the United States to perform domestic services [2] (pp. 19–20).
 
Shyima worked 12–16-h days for approximately three to four years as a domestic servant for her traffickers. She took care of two of the five children for the family; cleaned the home, clothing, and dishes for the family; did not attend school or interact with any neighbors; and slept in one of the four garages of the Irvine residence on a mattress with one blanket and mice as frequent companions. Shyima's exploitation was discovered when a neighbor called the local police and social services about Shyima not attending school [2]. Shyima, a survivor of labor trafficking, became the early catalyst motivating local, state, and federal law enforcement to partner with victim service providers, non-profits, educators, and the faith-based community to create an anti-human trafficking task force in Orange County, CA.
 
Despite the labor trafficking origins of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF), the vast majority of the cases worked by task force investigators in Orange County, CA, and investigators around the country involve sex trafficking. A 2011 Department of Justice (DOJ) special report on human trafficking investigations done by federally funded task forces occurring from 2008 through 2010 showed 82% of the cases investigated were sex trafficking, whereas 14% were labor trafficking (the remainder being potential or unknown trafficking investigations) [3] (p. 3). The 2010 (TIP) Report documented that almost half of federally prosecuted human trafficking cases were labor trafficking [4] (p. 339). The 2021 Federal Human Trafficking Report indicates only 8% of new criminal cases were focused on labor trafficking, whereas 36% of the victims were from forced labor [5]. The 2022 TIP Report, 12 years after the 2010 TIP Report documenting approximately 50% federal cases being labor trafficking, documented 97.0% of prosecuted cases being sex trafficking and 3.0% being labor cases [6] (p. 575). The 2022 TIP Report reported concurrently that foreign national and domestic survivors of labor trafficking in the United States represented 23% of human trafficking survivors being served in the United States [6] (p. 577). The gap between the number of labor trafficking prosecutions versus the extent of domestic and foreign national labor trafficking victims is reflected internationally as well.
 
The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated in 2022 that there are 49.6 million people estimated to be “in modern slavery on any given day” [7] (p. 2). Of those 49.6 million modern day slaves, 81.2% are trafficked for forced labor, state-forced labor, and forced marriage [7] (p. 17). In the 2020 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons (GLOTIP), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimated that 38% of trafficking cases detected in 2018 throughout the world are done for forced labor [8] (p. 95). These global estimates of labor trafficking are reflected to a degree in our foreign national victim populations in the United States. The 2022 TIP reported that 68% of the adult foreign national victims who sought federal certification as trafficking victims were labor trafficking victims, whereas more than 68% of the foreign national children seeking documentation were labor trafficking victims [6] (p. 577). The significant drop of labor trafficking prosecutions in the United States from 2010 (~50%) through 2022 (~3%) is not reflected by a substantial drop in potential labor trafficking cases or identified victims [4,6,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19].
 
This paper intends to focus on clarifying issues around the investigation of labor trafficking. It is the premise of this paper that effective labor trafficking case identification, investigation, and prosecution requires the engagement of multi-jurisdictional, multi-disciplinary agencies formed into task forces committed to serving labor trafficking victims and dismantling labor trafficking criminal enterprises. This paper will briefly define labor trafficking in the United States, provide various examples of foreign national and domestic labor trafficking, and attempt to justify why law enforcement executives should prioritize labor trafficking investigations. Finally, this paper will review the importance of collaborating with victim service providers due to the scope of trauma labor trafficking victims can experience. This paper will use the Department of Justice Office of Victims of Crimes' definition of a task force: “multidisciplinary teams established with the goal of providing the broadest range of services and resources for victims and the most diverse range of investigation and prosecution options in response to perpetrators of this crime” [20]. Overall, I hope to inspire task forces to pursue labor trafficking investigations and prosecutions more actively or, as Smith (2020) would describe it, remove the “Labor Trafficking Eclipse” created by the belief that human trafficking is exclusively sex trafficking [21] (p. 504).
 
2. What Is Labor Trafficking
Fundamentally, labor trafficking occurs when a person is compelled to work against her/his will through force, fraud, and/or coercion. The federal law for severe forms of human trafficking reads: “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery” [22]. There are several federal laws addressing forced labor, including (18 U.S.C. Section 1589) [23] and related laws, including peonage, slavery, involuntary servitude, or forced labor (18 U.S.C. Section 1590) [24]. Labor trafficking victims can be foreign nationals, domestic workers, adults, and minors [21]. Each state has their own statutes against sex and labor trafficking [25] (para. 2). In fact, anti-trafficking federal legislation has been reviewed and changed five times since the TVPA's inception, most recently in 2019 [25]. Many state laws have experienced similar processes of review and change since their origins as well.
 
The crime of labor trafficking is more complicated than finding labor violations. Labor trafficking is a subset of labor exploitation which is a subset of lawful labor practices. Labor exploitation includes violations such as not paying employees what was promised, not paying consistently and/or paying less than minimum wage, illegal pay deductions, and not permitting breaks and/or lunch periods [24]. Labor trafficking involves criminal acts derived from the use of force, threats of force, withholding of personal documentation, threats regarding legal status in the United States, debt manipulation, fraudulent hiring and employment practices, and coercion [24,25]. Coercion can involve the use of force, threats of force, and psychological manipulation [24,25]. Examples of coercion range from threats of violence against the victim or their family, threats regarding being deported or denying a foreign national their status, use of addictions to drugs to gain compliance, and the use of fraudulent or legitimate documents to persuade victims to comply with unsafe and unhealthy working conditions [25]. A recent analysis of labor trafficking cases found that psychological violence was the most common tactic used by traffickers [25] (p. 43). The types of labor trafficking violations can be further complicated by a victim's national and ethnic origins [25] (p. 36).
 
The crime of labor trafficking revolves making a profit. For instance, Tieu Tran was convicted of labor trafficking for luring three Vietnamese women into the country to work at her nail salon in 2014 [26]. Once the women were smuggled through the Mexican border, they were forced to sign documents creating significant debts for their transportation to the United States. Tran then forced the women to work both at her nail salon and her son's Vietnamese Pho restaurant to pay off their debts, as well as not paying them at all. The Project, the organization responsible for the United States national anti-trafficking hotline (888-373-7888), conducted a survey of potential victims who called the national hotline regarding labor trafficking [27]. In the 2015 Polaris Project study, foreign national labor trafficking victims working under temporary visas suffered from 11 types of “force, fraud and coercion”, including economic abuse [28] (p. 5). Economic abuse involved five subcategories of labor abuses and were experienced by 68% of victims [28]. Labor trafficking investigations can be more complicated due to many factors, including the extent and complexity of the types of victimization, as well as debt manipulation and other types of economic abuse [29].
 
Adding to the complexities associated with the crime of labor trafficking, labor trafficking is committed throughout a wide scope of industries. , such as in Shyima Hall's case, is just one type of labor trafficking. The 2015 Trafficking in Persons report documented many global industries which were “the most likely” to produce items created through slave labor; these sectors included agriculture, fishing, hospitality, transportation, and [13] (p. 23). A 2017 Polaris Project report identified 25 typologies of human trafficking in the United States after reviewing 32,000 reported cases over a ten-year span [30]; 16 of the 25 typologies identified focused on labor trafficking. Industries in the United States are not exempt from labor trafficking, and both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals are victimized.
 
3. Pursuing Labor Trafficking Investigations
Investigating and prosecuting labor violations has not been a traditional local law enforcement function [25,31]. Though many law enforcement agencies may have a general understanding of labor trafficking, they are not clear regarding their role with regards to investigating the criminal offense of labor trafficking [31]. Many labor code violations involve administrative or civil penalties, sanctions, and/or fines, and are pursued by specialized local, state, and/or federal agencies [21]. One study indicated that police being interviewed about labor trafficking had difficulty separating labor code violations from labor trafficking crimes, and these police were in jurisdictions with a history of pursuing labor trafficking cases [31] (p. 42). Another study found that labor trafficking was predominantly discovered through investigations of other criminal activities [25] (p. 49). In truth, basic investigation skills are all that is needed to uncover labor trafficking.
 
For example, during the investigation of petty theft in 2013, officers encountered an adult woman with cognitive disabilities [32]. When asked about her living situation, she said only that the people she lived with were “mean” to her. Through further investigation, the woman disclosed she was kept in a basement with her child and forced to do domestic and menial services for her traffickers for years. The traffickers coerced her to stay by exploiting her fear of snakes and dogs, humiliating her, sexually assaulting her, and physically hurting her. The traffickers forced her to work for them by making her slap her child while being videotaped, and then threatened to use the tape by showing it to social workers if she ever tried to escape. The victim stayed in an unfinished basement with her child, with little food or water available and in unsanitary conditions [32]. Perceptive law enforcement officers and case workers pursued the investigation, took the time to learn the details of her situation, and investigated and arrested the traffickers. Though an extreme example of domestic labor trafficking, this case demonstrates that labor trafficking involves multiple types of criminal misconduct, many of which local law enforcement are trained, capable, and obligated to investigate and prosecute.
 
An example of foreign national labor trafficking resulting from a report of possible labor exploitation can be seen in the Trillium Egg Farms case [33]. Young men and juveniles coming from Guatemala were recruited to work at the chicken processing facility. The victim's families had to put up their property to insure their positions at the farm. When crossing the border, traffickers misrepresented themselves as relatives so the victims could be admitted into the U.S. Once in Ohio, the young men and juveniles were forced to live in crowded trailers with no heating or running water and forced to work long hours (12–16 h per day) with the traffickers collecting their pay. For those who said they would not work under such conditions, they and their families were threatened with death [33]. This case too involves multiple criminal activities which distinguish it from a more basic labor code violation case. These violations would not necessarily have been observable from a patrol officer's routine patrol activities; instead, these multiple criminal violations were discovered because of persistent, victim-sensitive interviews.
 
Business and financial equity concerns are another reason that police executives may consider supporting the pursuit of labor trafficking investigations. Labor trafficking is motivated by profit, or at least to save money through or underpaid services provided by its victims. Businesses engaging in labor exploitation and trafficking have an unfair advantage in the competitive marketplace [21] (p. 492). Personnel costs are a significant financial obligation for many businesses. State and local authorities recently completed sentencing of four Filipino labor trafficking suspects who operated a series of locations referred to as Rainbow Bright Day Care Centers in California [34]. Violations were discovered through employee complaints of labor violations. After a year-long investigation, authorities confirmed the labor violations and discovered labor trafficking, instances of employers raping employees, grand theft from employees, tax fraud, and false imprisonment [35]. These illegal activities had been ongoing for a decade prior to discovery and involved the victimization of fellow Filipino immigrants. Increasing profit margins through labor cost savings provides an unfair advantage when pricing products and bidding out services. This illegal practice impacts global markets, as well as local businesses: community members who are abiding by fair labor practices cannot be as competitive as those who are exploiting and/or trafficking their work force [21] (p. 492).
 
The low numbers of labor trafficking cases pursued and prosecuted across the United States “generally” reflect the priorities given to labor trafficking investigations and prosecutions by local, state, and federal executive law enforcement officials [25] (p. 41). There are significant examples indicating labor trafficking usually involves a constellation of criminal acts which have priority in law enforcement agencies, such as false imprisonment, torture, sexual assault, rape, fraud, and a variety of financially focused deprivations. Labor trafficking investigations can impact both foreign national and domestic communities of interest positively. Effectively pursuing labor trafficking requires a consistent commitment of personnel and resources, as well as moving past the reactive paradigm in which most cases have been historically discovered [25] (p. 46).
 
4. Investigating Labor Trafficking
Being proactive with criminal cases in law enforcement has historically relied on criminal informants, officers “knowing” the streets (and now, cyber highways) within their jurisdiction, and applying elements of collaboratively focused problem-oriented and community policing. Being proactive is much easier when pursuing commercial sexual exploitation, especially of minors. Vice investigators can drive down the local “track” and find potential victims or, for those more technologically inclined, go to the web and find any number of sites offering “young” and “exotic” females and males for hire. Even field personnel can spot potential victims while driving on patrol or walking a beat.
 
Labor trafficking cases are more difficult to discover through calls for service or patrol checks. Labor trafficking is committed truly behind closed doors or in remote areas, in industries where law enforcement is not traditionally required to patrol. Most labor trafficking occurs outside the normal patrol beat and between jurisdictions (both geographical and agency specific). Domestic servitude and servile marriage have been discovered through calls for service related to domestic violence or sexual assault, but these cases represent only two types of labor trafficking. Many of the cases to date have not originated from in-field observations or criminal informants [21,25]. Nonetheless, labor trafficking can be done proactively.
 
Being proactive with labor trafficking cases requires using a victim-centered, trauma-informed approach; developing a rapport with relevant, multi-jurisdictional agencies; and sharing information responsibly while performing mutual activities with community groups, businesses, NGOs, and non-traditional administrative and law enforcement partners [36] (p. 158). According to the Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States, being “trauma-informed” involves appreciating how a person's victimization affects them psychologically, emotionally, and physically, while committing to both providing healing opportunities and not further traumatizing them via the criminal justice process (initial contact, investigations, interviews, arrests, prosecutions, and sentencing) [37] (p.10). “Victim-centered” means to engage trafficking survivors in the justice process, allowing them to “play a role” in the investigation and prosecution of the trafficker(s) while affirming their “rights, dignity, autonomy, and self-determination” [38] (p. 10). Those professionals, groups, and organizations who understand and practice the victim-centered, trauma-informed approach and travel in areas and jurisdictions outside normal local law enforcement's focus may provide the most actionable information to assist investigators find labor trafficking victims and cases [36] (p. 158). Nonetheless, a significant challenge in pursuing and investigating labor trafficking is finding both foreign national and domestic victims.
 
The current National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking emphasizes the need to interact with a variety of anti-trafficking agencies to successfully pursue anti-trafficking efforts [38] (p. 1). Leaders responsible for agencies engaged in anti-human trafficking efforts agree that multi-sector collaborating is critical [37,38,39,40]. Implementing the “barrier model” is a method to proactively identify and recruit diverse agencies that may be viable collaborative partners in pursuit of labor trafficking investigations [40]. The barrier model focuses on identifying five core barriers that “must be overcome in order to commit” the human trafficking of foreign nationals [40] (p. 20); however, I contend that addressing these barriers will increase the identification of domestic labor trafficking victims as well. The five core barriers include: identity, border crossings (country entry), work, housing, and financial flows [40]. Victims “crossing” these barriers provide opportunities for law enforcement and their partners to identify labor trafficking situations and victims who otherwise might remain unnoticed.
 
The creation and control of identity paperwork is the first barrier to overcome and is needed for job recruiting and placement agencies to place victims with employers [40] (p. 20). Agencies involved with checking and confirming identity documentation are important partners in labor trafficking investigations, including Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), all levels of law enforcement, the Department of Labor Wages and Hours Division (DOL WHD), health care agencies (for birth certificates), the Department of Motor Vehicles, and immigration attorneys.
 
Border entry is essential for foreign national victims to be victimized in the United States; however, states and cities have borders too [40] (p. 20). Those agencies participating in border crossing are important partners, including the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, travel agencies, transportation agencies (i.e., airlines, bus and coach services), the Coast Guard, port authorities, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Please remember that anyone entering the country creates records, which can include those with whom they traveled and/or the vehicle they used to cross the border.
 
Labor trafficking involves compelling a person to work against her/his will. Those agencies responsible for finding jobs, placing workers, employing, and providing employment and business performance oversight are critical partners [40] (p. 21). These agencies would include local code enforcement, the state and federal Department of Labor, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and product or work location regulatory agencies and their inspectors, such as Health Inspectors, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission personnel, and business inspectors—including fire departments.
 
Victims must be housed while they are being compelled to work. Locations can include residential homes, apartments/condominiums/town homes, commercial complexes, vehicles, and makeshift or transit housing [40] (p. 21). Those agencies responsible for the inspection and oversight of residential properties and commercial complexes and their occupants include Housing and Urban Development (including local housing authorities), local code enforcement, building inspectors, fire departments (occupancy and fire hazard issues), Alcohol and Beverage Control, parole and probation officers, homeowner and landlord associations, maintenance and utility services agencies, and medical outreach organizations.
 
Employers create various cash and credit financial flows [40] (p. 21). Agencies and organizations involved with tracking business and personal funds include the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the U.S. Treasury, the U.S. Marshals, gaming commissions, mortgage/escrow companies, banks, and state tax agencies. Additional agencies could be check-cashing locations, locations producing money orders and traveler's checks, and credit card agencies (both conventional and “Green Dot” and “Vanilla” credit cards).
 
All of these “barriers” require victims and perpetrators to directly interact with these various agencies. Having relevant agencies trained in identifying labor trafficking situations and potential victim indicators creates greater opportunities to liberate victims and initiate investigations. However, for law enforcement to leverage these partnerships and potential intelligence, they must have pre-established relationships with these various agencies through consistent collaborative efforts.
 
Finally, each jurisdiction should consider their local NGOs, community groups, business entities, legal advocates, and faith-based organizations as having potential insight into current labor trafficking situations and/or access to those with lived experience. For instance, health care workers and agencies can be critical partners. Victims may require medical care for work related injuries, as well as basic medical care such as check-ups, vaccinations, and dental care. Developing the best integrated, multi-disciplinary team is critical for successful labor trafficking investigations, prosecutions, and liberating victims. The unique nature of labor trafficking crimes and situations demands criminal, administrative, and victim expertise from a wide scope of professionals, including those with lived experience.
 
Some additional suggestions to find and identify collaborative stakeholders with whom to create proactive labor trafficking strategies, cases, and identify victims include:
  • Collaborating with prosecutors in cases from their beginning and, when possible, having prosecutors participate in these collaborative efforts.
  • Enhance existing data tracking and intelligence databases to include ongoing information from non-criminal sources, as well as researching what intelligence can be responsibly and consistently shared with partner agencies—both law-enforcement-based and non-law-enforcement-based. Sharing relevant information responsibly and with respect to a victim's rights can be a significant bridging tool for sustaining inclusive partnerships.
  • Create and implement targeted outreach, training, and presentations in areas and with the agencies most likely to support potential labor trafficking victim populations; for example, approaching the areas in your jurisdiction that have ethnic communities and their related organizations (Chamber of Commerce, housing associations, etc.), as well as teaming up with local foreign consulates and faith communities.
  • Engage legal advocacy groups for labor trafficking victims. These agencies can determine and assist which legal relief and support can best benefit labor trafficking survivors. They can also assist with shepherding labor trafficking survivors through the court and legal systems.

Additional suggestions on creating and sustaining successful anti-trafficking collaborations can be found at the , Training and Technical Assistance Center website [20]. This guide was created by the Office of Victims of Crimes and the Bureau of Justice Assistance and provides promising practices by anti-trafficking professionals around the country and is updated consistently.
 
Being proactive with labor trafficking cases requires using non-criminal informants: citizens, community groups, businesses, and other professional and administrative agencies (federal, state, local, and tribal) that may be considered non-traditional partners for law enforcement. Pursuing these partnerships and sustaining them with shared, relevant information and meaningful activities will result in increased access to actionable information with a higher potential to identify labor trafficking cases and victims.
 
5. Labor Trafficking Victims
Victim-centered, trauma-informed, culturally aware approaches to victim services and investigations have become the common approach used in anti-human trafficking efforts [20,21,37,40]. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors understand these issues from their training and experiences working with child and adult victims of sexual assault, gangs, and domestic violence. Translating this training and experience into partnering with victim services providers for sex trafficking victims is done routinely by investigators and prosecutors. Most of the challenges experienced with sex trafficking victim interactions involve changing officers' and prosecutors' mindsets from victims “being prostitutes” to victims “being prostituted.” The older mindset can be changed with the consistent application of victim-oriented investigative practices and teaming up with trained victim advocates and support agencies. These promising practices can be initiated from initial contact with a potential victim–survivor, to interviews, to support provided for court testimony, and through to survivorship.
 
Perceiving labor trafficking victims as traumatized, however, can prove more challenging. Renan Salgado, a labor trafficking victim services consultant who has worked in New York finding labor trafficking victims for 20-plus years, explains that there are many reasons why labor trafficking victims are difficult for law enforcement and other agencies to find and acknowledge [41]. Since many labor trafficking cases have centered around foreign nationals, political issues revolving around immigration can confuse the fact they are victims of labor trafficking [29,41]. Investigators may perceive a victim as willing to work in substandard conditions and with low pay, without understanding the dynamics of their victimization and victims' unwillingness to self-identify as victims of trafficking [29,41].
 
Victims' situations are further complicated by language limitations, cultural differences, and isolation from community and family connections [29,41]. Immigrant workers are frequently perceived to be working in our country illegally when, in fact, more than 70% of foreign national migrant workers enter the country with legal work visas [29] (p. 26). In addition, since many labor trafficking victims are not sexually assaulted, viewing them as having the same level of trauma and victimization can prove problematic for law enforcement, prosecutors, and juries. It is more intuitive for investigators to understand and prosecutors to prove how compelled sexual exploitation can result in victim trauma than it is to perceive and demonstrate in court how being compelled to work against their will for another's profit can result in equivalent levels of trauma.
 
The Urban Institute's study of labor trafficking in the United States in 2014 articulated the traumas potentially experienced by labor trafficking victims [29] (p. 82). The study discusses many types of traumas and lists them in seven categories, including: depriving/disorienting, threats or use of violence, demeaning and demoralizing, diminishing resistance, intimidation and control, deception concerning consequences, and use or threatened use of law [29]. The Shared Hope International Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking [42] described seven types of methods of control, including: isolation, using coercion and threats, emotional violence, physical violence, sexual violence, purposeful manipulation, and economic dependence [42] (p. 37). The economic dependence experienced by sex trafficking victims is mirrored in labor trafficking victims via the withholding of paychecks, debt bondage, receiving no pay or low pay, and being forced into substandard living conditions. Sexual violence is core to the sexual trafficking victim experience, as are the threats of deportation to foreign national labor trafficking victims; however, some victims of labor trafficking suffer sexual assault and rape as part of their victimization too. The deprivation and disorientation for labor trafficking victims is like the isolation process used by sex traffickers against their victims. The trauma described in both studies, when compared, indicate labor and sex trafficking victims have substantially comparable victimization experiences. I am not suggesting sex trafficking victims experience the same trauma as labor trafficking victims; each case and victim is unique, so to make categorical assertions would be a mistake. Instead, I am arguing that the trauma experienced by both victim groups is very similar and requires equal attention when deciding whether to pursue labor or sex trafficking cases.
 
Previous case examples have shown how labor trafficking victims can experience a wide range of significant trauma. Another case which illustrates this point is US v. Kaufman [43]. Mr. and Mrs. Kaufman maintained an assisted living care facility for 24 years housing mentally ill and elderly clients. The traffickers used nude therapy with their “clients,” resulting in sexual exploitation and videos of patients involved in various directed sexual acts. In addition, these victims were forced to work on the traffickers' farm naked and, in some cases, had their social security checks garnished by the Kaufmans [43]. It would be difficult to argue the labor trafficking victims in the Kaufman's case were less traumatized by their experiences than sex trafficking victims. Understanding victim trauma and being focused on the needs of victims are critical skills and practices required to developing, pursuing, and prosecuting successful labor trafficking cases. Having a multi-disciplinary collaboration with law enforcement and service providers provides the best chance to assist victims to become survivors [25] and to successfully prosecute labor trafficking cases [20]. In addition, the extent of trauma in labor trafficking argues for the inclusion of victim advocacy and victim services agencies being key partners in any anti-labor-trafficking task force.
 
6. Conclusions
There is a significant gap between the number of labor trafficking and sex trafficking federal prosecutions since the TVPA was implemented in 2000 in the United States. Short of having an anti-trafficking task force, most local law enforcement agencies do not pursue labor trafficking investigations. However, labor trafficking involves many crimes for which local law enforcement have been trained and for which they are responsible to investigate. Labor trafficking occurs in many industries and venues, many of which do not fall under the normal jurisdiction of local, state, and federal law enforcement. Understanding the scope of labor trafficking and how it can potentially impact a jurisdiction helps justify agencies to create and sustain multi-disciplinary, multi-jurisdictional partnerships, ideally supported by the executives of each organization. These partnerships can create intelligence and leads which can result in proactively-generated labor trafficking cases and the discovery of victims of labor trafficking.
 
Victims of labor and sex trafficking suffer similar types of victimization. In some cases, labor trafficking victims suffer equivalent depredations. A fundamental benefit of anti-trafficking collaborations is providing the victims of trafficking the services they require and shepherding them through the criminal justice system and to survivorship, while investigators and prosecutors hold traffickers accountable via comprehensive investigations and diligent prosecutions. These efforts depend on multi-agency cooperation using trauma-informed, victim-centered techniques to inform intelligence-led cases and prosecutions. This article has articulated the importance of and methods for pursuing labor trafficking investigations with the hope of motivating and equipping readers to initiate and/or support and sustain anti-labor-trafficking partnerships.
EYES ON TRAFFICKING

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PBJ Learning is a leading provider of online human trafficking training, focusing on awareness and prevention education. Their interactive Human Trafficking Essentials is used worldwide to educate professionals and individuals how to recognize human trafficking and how to respond to potential victims. Learn on any web browser (even your mobile phone) at any time.

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EYES ON TRAFFICKING

This “Eyes on Trafficking” story is reprinted from its original online location.

ABOUT PBJ LEARNING

PBJ Learning is a leading provider of online human trafficking training, focusing on awareness and prevention education. Their interactive Human Trafficking Essentials online course is used worldwide to educate professionals and individuals how to recognize human trafficking and how to respond to potential victims. Learn on any web browser (even your mobile phone) at any time.

More stories like this can be found in your PBJ Learning Knowledge Vault.