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Assessing the Impact of State Human Trafficking Legislation on Criminal Justice System Outcomes

NCJ Number
Law & Policy Volume: 2 Issue: 41 Dated: 2019 Pages: 174-197
Amy Farrell; Vanessa
Date Published
24 pages
This study identified the provisions of state human trafficking laws that are most effective in increasing the arrest and prosecution of human trafficking suspects.

Since 2003, state legislatures in the United States have been active in passing legislation aimed at combating human trafficking. To date, all states have passed laws that criminalize acts of human trafficking, although with significant variation in the penalty structure and associated legal provisions. Using panel data on state laws and associated enforcement actions from 2003 to 2012, this study confirms that more comprehensive state laws that invest in antitrafficking resources are most strongly associated with human trafficking arrests and prosecutions. States that make legislative provisions for victim assistance, law enforcement training, statutory task forces, and mandatory reporting have higher antitrafficking criminal enforcement. The political environment in which state human trafficking laws are enacted also influences their enforcement. (publisher abstract modified)