By Miriam Goodman and Robyn Mazur, Center for Court Innovation
- the duality of the victim-defendant dynamic often involved in sex trafficking victimization and the
consequences of this duality for the courts;
- the impacts of victimization and the needs and challenges victim-defendants face;
- steps for increasing court capacity to identify trafficking victims;
- the adequacy of existing assessment tools when working with sex trafficking victims; and
- key elements in a court strategy for enhancing the effectiveness of responses to sex trafficking
The hidden nature of trafficking crimes makes it difficult to determine an exact number of victims. Estimates range that within the U.S., 300,000 to 2 million people are victims of human trafficking each year. There is growing recognition that prostitution, chronic running away, homelessness, shoplifting, substance abuse, domestic violence, and loitering are all potential red flags for sex trafficking. Given this reality, courts can play a crucial role in not only identifying victims of sex trafficking, but linking them to needed services. This chapter provides judges and court staff with concrete steps to enhance their ability to respond effectively and sensitively to these difficult cases.