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Prosecuting Trafficking in Persons: Known Issues, Emerging Responses

NCJ Number
Fiona David
Date Published
June 2008
6 pages
This paper examines the different components of the criminal justice response to human trafficking.
This paper discusses factors that have been identified as having an impact on a country's willingness to prosecute cases of human trafficking. While only six factors are examined in this paper, it is noted that more factors may be identified as future research in this area continues to grow. The factors examined in this paper include: 1) in countries where legal frameworks are incomplete, unclear, or inadequate, prosecutors will experience difficulty prosecuting traffickers; 2) the transnational nature of the crime can make prosecution difficult, it not impossible; 3) the victim may be one of only a small number of persons able to verify the occurrence of the crime, which can complicate prosecution; 4) trafficked persons may not want to participate in prosecutions and may be afraid to testify at trial; 5) the existence of prior inconsistent statements by victims resulting in credibility issues for the prosecution; and 6) difficulties in proving the existence of trafficking or slavery without evidence of locks and chains. Strategies for supporting and improving prosecution of human traffickers include: 1) legal reforms; 2) protecting witnesses in court; 3) avoiding or minimizing prior inconsistent statements; and 4) the use of training and special prosecution units for dealing with human trafficking. References