Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Investigating Tactics for Local Law Enforcement to Combat Labor Trafficking
Authors: Groves, Kyle
Advisors: Katz, Stanley
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2019
Abstract: Labor Trafficking is defined by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.” This definition is difficult to interpret, as the line between consensual working relations and labor trafficking is difficult to draw. Local law enforcement can play an essential role in detection of victims, connecting victims to essential resources such as housing, health care, and legal aid, and building a rapport with victims so as to better prosecute their traffickers. Each of these tasks is exceedingly difficult. At the identification stage, law enforcement faces barriers including the widely dispersed industries into which victims are trafficked, meaning there is generally no one geographical area or industry in which they can focus their efforts. The public and even law enforcement officials generally know very little about the modes of labor trafficking, making victims difficult to identify. Victims’ fear of deportation and lack of awareness of their own victimhood also often prevent them from voluntarily interacting with law enforcement. Resources (primarily for housing and immigration assistance) are often scarce, especially for male immigrant victims. When there is financial assistance available to trafficking victims, most of it is generally allocated toward victims of sex trafficking. Finally, cultural factors make it difficult for victims to trust law enforcement enough to work with them, especially in cases involving language barriers. Consequently, labor trafficking is often underreported, and at times completely unaddressed in local jurisdictions. Some jurisdictions, however, do make efforts to combat labor trafficking. In this thesis, I analyze how trafficking is addressed in Fort Worth, TX; Seattle, WA; McLennan County, TX; and Alameda County, CA. Each of these deals with labor trafficking to varying degrees and in unique ways. Fort Worth focuses almost exclusively on sex trafficking, while McLennan County combines its sex and labor trafficking efforts into one unit. Alameda and Seattle have labor trafficking-specific investigators and efforts. These efforts are also housed in different branches of law enforcement. While Seattle, Fort Worth, and McLennan County operate out of police or sheriff’s departments, Alameda County operates out of the DA office. This thesis will analyze the comparative efficacies of these efforts and their practicalities given available resources. I find that four key elements play into how well jurisdictions can combat labor trafficking: resources, awareness, community support, and willingness of victims to come forward. While some of these elements are out of the control of local law enforcement, there are promising practices officials can pursue to build an environment conducive to combatting labor trafficking. These include focusing on providing a victim-centered approach, taking measures to make victims feel more comfortable when interacting with law enforcement, providing efficient trainings, making innovative use of resources, facilitating immigration assistance applications, and conducting strategic outreach to community partners. Although this is by no means a formula for successful efforts, it may help law enforcement to efficiently approach labor trafficking within their jurisdictions.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2019

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
GROVES-KYLE-THESIS.pdf901.42 kBAdobe PDF    Request a copy

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.