Identifying Victims of Human Trafficking: Inherent Challenges and Promising Strategies from the Field. Summary

Clearly, identifying victims of human trafficking is difficult. Even with a legal definition of the crime and its victims, applying this definition and identifying victims is not without challenges. The hidden nature of the crime, the lack of awareness and understanding of human trafficking among the general public and organizations coming in contact with victims, misperceptions of who is a victim, and limited resources to devote to the investigation and identification of these cases all work against efforts to "rescue and restore" victims. But the efforts of law enforcement and service providers across the country have resulted in several promising strategies and practices to address these challenges and increase the number of victims identified and helped. These come in the form of well-designed and delivered training and education, targeted outreach, better screening and interviewing, and the development and use of task forces, coalitions, and/or other multidisciplinary teams that are working together to combat this crime. However, as one provider notes, "One strategy alone is not effective. It is important that we approach the comprehensive problem of identifying victims with a comprehensive solution."

If you think you have come in contact with a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1.888.3737.888.

Outreach and education materials are available at

The issue briefs in this series and the final study report can be downloaded from the following Web sites:  or


How to Obtain a Printed Copy

To obtain a printed copy of this report, send the title and your mailing information to:

Human Services Policy, Room 404E
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20201

Fax:  (202) 690-6562


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