On 27 Oct 2022, Lauger, A. & Kaeble, D, Human Trafficking Data Collection Activities, 2022, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), NCJ 305205, PDF 418K, 6 pages, 4 data tables, ZIP 2K, was released. HTDCA 2022 is the latest in the series – previous reports include HTDCA 2021 (Lauger, A. & Durose, M.) and HTDCA 2020 (Smith, E., Brotsos, H., Cooper, A., Kaeble, D., Perry, S.).
HTDCA 2022 details BJS’s activities during 2021 and 2022 to collect data and report on human trafficking (HT). It details ongoing and completed efforts to measure and analyze the nationwide incidence of HT, to describe characteristics of HT victims and offenders, and to describe criminal justice responses to HT offenses. Additionally, it provides information on HT suspects referred to and prosecuted by U.S. attorneys, HT defendants convicted in U.S. district court, and admissions to state prison for HT.
A total of 2,198 persons were referred to U.S. Attorneys for HT offenses in fiscal year (FY) 2020, a 62% increase from the 1,360 persons referred in 2011.
The number of persons prosecuted for HT increased from 729 in 2011 to 1,343 in 2020, an 84% increase.
The number of persons convicted of a federal HT offense increased from 2011 (464 persons) to 2019 (837 persons), before falling in 2020 (658 persons).
Of the 1,169 defendants charged in U.S. district court with HT offenses in FY 2020:
92% were male
63% were white
18% were black
17% were Hispanic
95% were U.S. citizens
66% had no prior convictions.
At year-end 2020, the most recent year for available National Corrections Reporting Program (NCRP) data, for the 47 states that reported data, 1,564 persons were in the custody of a state prison serving a sentence for a HT offense.
The NCRP collects offender-level administrative data annually on state prison admissions and releases, custody, and parole entries and discharges in participating jurisdictions. BJS has implemented a standardized offense code for HT. This code includes state offenses for sex trafficking or transport, child prostitution, forced labor trafficking, HT, and similar crimes shown below.
Table 1. Characteristics of HT defendants in cases charged in U.S. district court, fiscal year 2020
Thirty-one states reported to the NCRP at least one prison admission involving a human trafficking offense for each year between 2016 and 2020. The largest annual number of admissions was 623 in 2019 before dropping to 389 in 2020 (table 2). The drop was accompanied by an overall drop in prison admissions in 2020 (likely due to Covid). The percentage of admissions related to human trafficking was highest in 2020.
Table 2. Admissions to state prison for human trafficking in 31 states, 2016-2020
HT offenses are defined according to the three categories of federal statutes:
Peonage, slavery, forced labor, and sex trafficking, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1581-1595
Sexual exploitation and other abuse of children, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2251-2251A
Transportation for illegal sexual activity and related crimes, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2422-2423.
Table 3. HT suspects referred to and prosecuted by U.S. attorneys and HT defendants convicted, 2011-2020
For 2011-2020, of the HT suspects prosecuted, the conviction rate averaged 66% with the highest (73%) in 2015 and the lowest (49%) in 2020.