Criminal Justice, Human Rights

U.S. human trafficking incidents, 2008-2010

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Last updated: May 20, 2011

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In the United States, the legal framework to prevent, track and prosecute cases involving the use of human beings for the purposes of forced prostitution, labor, and other exploitative practices was established in the Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000. The first full report from the Department of Justice on human trafficking cases prosecuted within the United States was released in 2005 and reported on years 2001 to 2005. This report showed 555 suspected cases of human trafficking in the United States, 44% of which occurred in 2005.

Following the release of this report, Congress reauthorized the TVPA and added a requirement for a biennial report from the Department of Justice on all human trafficking cases. The report for 2007 and 2008 recorded more than 1,200 suspected incidents of human trafficking.

The findings of the 2011 report, “Characteristics of Suspected Human Trafficking Incidents, 2008-2010,” include:

  • From 2008 to 2010, Federal anti-trafficking task forces opened 2,515 suspected cases of human trafficking.
  • 82% of suspected incidents were classified as sex trafficking; nearly half of these involved victims under the age of 18.
  • Approximately 10%  of the incidents were classified as labor trafficking.
  • 83% of victims in confirmed sex-trafficking incidents were identified as U.S. citizens, while most confirmed labor-trafficking victims were identified as undocumented immigrants (67%) or legal immigrants (28%).
  • Only 25% of the confirmed victims of human trafficking received a “T-visa,” part of a federal program designed to aid victims of trafficking.

While the findings represent the government’s best estimate, the authors caution that “the data described in this report reflect the information that was available to, and entered by, these state and local law enforcement agencies,” and such data systems are still being established and are likely not recording all incidents.

Tags: children, youth, crime, sex crimes


Writer: | May 20, 2011

Citation: Banks, Duren, Kyckelhahn, Tracey. “Characteristics of Suspected Human Trafficking Incidents, 2008-2010,” U.S. Department of Justice, April, 2011.

Analysis assignments

Read the issue-related Los Angeles Times article "Guatamalan Girl Describes Alleged Enforced Prostitution."

  1. If you were to rewrite the article based on knowledge of the study, what key changes would you make?

Read the full Department of Justice report "Characteristics of Suspected Human Trafficking Incidents, 2008-2010."

  1. Summarize the study in fewer than 40 words.
  2. Express the study's key term(s) in language a lay audience can understand.
  3. Evaluate the study's limitations. (For example: Do the results conflict with those of other reliable studies? Are there weaknesses in the study's data or research design?)

Newswriting assignments

  1. Write a lead (or headline or nut graph) based on the study.
  2. Spend 60 minutes exploring the issue by accessing sources of information other than the study. Write a lead (or headline or nut graph) based on the study but informed by the new information. Does the new information significantly change what one would write based on the study alone?
  3. Interview two sources with a stake in or knowledge of the issue. Be prepared to provide them with a short summary of the study in order to get their response to it. Write a 400-word article about the study incorporating material from the interviews.
  4. Spend additional time exploring the issue and then write a 1,200-word background article, focusing on major aspects of the issue.

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What Human Trafficking is Not | elizabethclymer Sep 2, 2011 14:21

[...] – you must act. – 1. Fact Sheet: Distinctions between Human Trafficking and Human Smuggling. 2. “U.S. Human Trafficking Incidents, 2008-2010″ . Share this:ShareFacebookStumbleUponTwitterPrintLinkedInDiggRedditEmailLike this:LikeBe the first [...]

[financing health care|ghanaian economy|primary health care|primary health care services|reproductive health care|sanitation problems|wikipedia the free encyclopedia|women with disabilities] Jan 24, 2012 22:44

[financing health care|ghanaian economy|primary health care|primary health care services|reproductive health care|sanitation problems|wikipedia the free encyclopedia|women with disabilities]…

[...]U.S. Human Trafficking Incidents, 2008-2010 – Journalist's Resource: Research for Reporting, from Harvard Shorenstein Center[...]…

Does legalized prostitution increase human trafficking? Journalist's Resource: Research for Reporting, from Harvard Shorenstein Center Jan 2, 2014 12:35

[…] are 27 million victims worldwide trafficked for forced labor or commercial sex exploitation. A 2011 report from the Department of Justice found that of more than 2,500 federal trafficking cases from 2008 to […]

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