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Understanding What Works in the Successful Identification, Investigation, and Prosecution of Labor Trafficking Cases in the United States

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2023
60 pages

This report presents a project that sought to answer three research questions regarding patterns in the characteristics of labor trafficking cases identified by law enforcement at the state and local level; how those cases differed from those of sex trafficking cases; and what the features of successful labor trafficking investigations were.


This document reports on a project that had the objective of identifying promising practices in labor trafficking identification and response in five US counties that have demonstrated innovation and commitment to address their labor trafficking problem. Strategies included: dedicated labor trafficking investigators; specialized units within county district attorneys’ offices; and a statewide multidisciplinary team approach that incorporated efforts to identify and respond to labor trafficking. The researchers performed a review of closed case records along with in-depth, semi-structured interviews of local criminal legal system agents and victim service providers who have worked on labor trafficking cases or with labor trafficking survivors. The researchers sought to examine how labor trafficking came to be a priority in those jurisdictions and how their response is situated in the unique policy, legal, and cultural frameworks of each participating county. The report features an introduction and a statement of the problem; and presents the research study, laying out its methodology, findings, and conclusions and recommendations.

Date Published: December 1, 2023