Forced labor. Involuntary domestic servitude. Sex trafficking. They’re all aspects of modern slavery. The FBI calls such human trafficking the third largest criminal activity in the world. It affects thousands of men, women and children every year in the United States and millions worldwide, and its complexity requires comprehensive data to inform solutions.
Since 2003, Abt Associates has provided needed evidence to policymakers and other stakeholders. We work with federal funding agencies, survivors, researchers and practitioners in health, justice and social services. We help them understand issues that trafficking survivors and anti-trafficking programs face. Our ongoing research agenda uses a range of qualitative and quantitative methods to address human trafficking offenders, victims, justice system responses and prevalence estimation.
Our active projects include:
- Development and testing of a methodology for producing valid estimates of human trafficking prevalence using surveys in shelters, emergency medical facilities and jails
- Examination of all federal human trafficking cases, from investigation through prosecution, sentencing and incarceration.
Prior studies have:
- Examined the structure and operations of criminal enterprises.
- Assessed the motivations and risk mitigation strategies of individual human traffickers through analysis of administrative data, narrative case records and interviews with convicted offenders.
- Evaluated the impact of a program designed to prevent sex trafficking by arresting and educating offenders, and using the fees they pay to find victim service programs.
- Conducted a national survey examining law enforcement agency awareness of local human trafficking activity.
Since 2012, Abt has hosted the Demand Forum website we developed for the National Institute of Justice. The site documents sex trafficking and prostitution prevention interventions used in more than 1,600 U.S. communities. For more information, contact the Project Director, Michael Shively.
We also partner with The Enitan Story (TES), a survivor-led human trafficking organization led by Bukola Oriola, a member of the US Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. The Office of Victims of Crime funds this grant through the Minnesota Department of Health to integrate labor trafficking into the state’s Safe Harbor program. The program provides services for employment and life skills that are culturally relevant and trauma-informed. Through this grant, TES will conduct in-depth, community-based outreach to identify labor-trafficking victims and assess their needs and coordinate referrals.
For more information about this project, contact Alisa Santucci, Project Director with Abt Associates.
Links to additional resources:
- Demand Forum Tactics
- Tracking Human Traffickers from Investigation to Conviction Using the BJS Federal Justice Statistics Program Data
- Using U.S. Sentencing Commission Data and Presentence Investigation Reports for Research on Transnational Organized Crime and Human Trafficking
- Understanding Human Trafficking Organizations and Facilitators: Preliminary Results from USSC Data and Interviews with Convicted Traffickers
- Diverse Approaches to Reducing Prostitution and Sex Trafficking
- DemandForum.net: Tracking and Assisting Efforts to Prevent Prostitution and Sex Trafficking
- National Human Trafficking Hotline