Our very real problem with human trafficking
Pacific Standard - 05/07/2015
Trafficking laws in the U.S. are still new: They’ve existed for only 15 years. And definitions of trafficking can be difficult to interpret. Federal and state trafficking laws are generally about the denial of a person’s liberty, but what exactly does that mean? The criminologists Amy Farrell and Rebecca Pfeffer (from Northeastern University and the University of Houston) looked at trafficking case files in 12 U.S. counties and found considerable confusion among police, prosecutors, and victim service providers about what human trafficking actually is. Lawmakers and civilians also appear divided. And because police tend to focus on what they think the public wants, many police departments interpret “trafficking” as encompassing only prostitution rings, sex crimes, and vice networks— meaning that other trafficking crimes, such as labor trafficking, are being overlooked.