Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

Summary of Responses

The table below summarizes various responses to the problem of the human trafficking of women, the mechanisms by which they are intended to work, the conditions under which they should work best, and factors that should be considered before a particular response is implemented. It is critical that you tailor responses to local circumstances and that you can justify each response based upon reliable analysis. In most cases, an effective strategy will involve several different responses, because law enforcement alone is seldom effective in reducing or solving the problem.


Preparatory Responses
## Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
1 Locating trafficked women Police are trained in identifying trafficking venues and marketing practices … police know their localities well and can obtain information from informal networks Not all illegal immigrants are trafficked and vice versa
2 Identifying trafficked women Police interview victims looking for signs of trafficking … police are well trained in interviewing victims of trafficking and NGOs are brought into the interviews Victims may not talk to police because of fear of arrest or reprisals from captors
3 Protecting trafficked women Police protect the victim from immediate violence, report the case to the national trafficking hotline, and inform the ictim of her rights under TVPA … police have a close working relationship with local community groups that can provide refuge Police must be skilled interviewers to overcome the victim’s fear of authorities
4 Working with service organizations You educate local community groups and health agencies concerning the plight of trafficked women so that they will help identify them and provide support … you gain their confidence, make use of their support services, and refer victims to them Requires long-term commitment to develop enduring partnerships; some community groups may be reticent to inform police of illegal immigrants in the community
5 Educating the public Public support makes possible changes needed in enforcement and prevention of trafficking … you use available materials and sources concerning human trafficking Outreach programs with schools and community groups and use of the media for publicity will help
Enforcing Laws Against Traffickers and Men Who Purchase Sex
## Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
6 Directing enforcement at pimps and purchasers Denies traffickers the opportunity to deploy trafficked women in your neighborhood … you have the cooperation of both local government and the general public Depends on changing the attitudes of public officials towards prostitution
7 Working closely with immigration officials Smoothes the process of protecting the victim and obtaining witness testimony … carefully worked out policies and procedures are agreed upon by both parties Conflicting laws and practices work against local police enforcement of federal immigration law, especially in sanctuary states and cities
8 Using RICO Lawsuits and ordinances are used to raise the cost of doing business, thus pressuring sweatshops and brothels to relocate … you have close relationships with labor and business organizations, as well as the prosecutor’s office When lawyers become involved, expenses escalate
Reducing Demand
## Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
9 Punishing the purchasers of sexual services Serious punishments are used to deter men from buying sex … criminal justice personnel are committed to the view that the purchase of sex is a form of male violence Depends on the extent to which the public supports the policy
10 Changing the attitudes of prostitution customers Offenders submit to psychological and educational programs that teach the exploitative nature of their acts ... judges and prosecutors are convinced of the effectiveness of these programs Studies have shown these programs to be very effective in reducing recidivism, although their effectiveness in overcoming ethnic or cultural values condoning prostitution have not been tested
11 Notifying those with influence over the purchaser’s conduct Creates meaningful consequences for the purchaser … purchasers are influenced by informal social controls Some penalties (e.g., termination from employment) may be harsher than some believe is fair
Making the Local Environment Inhospitable to Exploitation of Trafficked Women
## Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
12 Enforcing zoning laws, nuisance abatement ordinances, and licensing regulations against properties used for prostitution Restricts the availability of locations for sexual activities; discourages the use of motels and hotels for prostitution … sexual transactions or forced labor take place on properties subject to regulation Civil law processes can be cumbersome and are unfamiliar to police; requires support from government lawyers
13 Warning property owners about the use of their premises for prostitution or forced labor Increases property owners' willingness to prohibit prostitution or forced labor on their property … forced labor takes place on those properties Some property owners may feel they are being unfairly accused
14 Establishing a highly visible police presence Discourages both prostitutes and clients from negotiations … followed by changes to the environment where street prostitution occurs Labor intensive; creates the perception that the area is unsafe
15 Redeveloping the area economy Promotes legitimate activity to displace illegitimate activity … improvements will substantially change the conditions that allow prostitution or forced labor to flourish Costly in the short term; potential displacement to more vulnerable areas
Responses With Limited Effectiveness
## Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
16 Legalizing or otherwise tolerating prostitution Creates a black market for cheap trafficked prostitutes   Rests on debates concerning public morality, which police departments cannot solve on their own
17 Punishing prostitutes Leads to inconsistent and ineffective enforcement   Drives trafficked women into the clutches of traffickers, making investigation and prosecution difficult