Awareness of human trafficking is seemingly everywhere. There is constant chatter and advocacy for victims, so what is the problem? Frustration among communities is increasing as people feel they are receiving lip service from law enforcement and not much else. While recognition is abundant, actionable changes are not.
This issue does not stem from law enforcement’s lack of awareness. Law enforcement listens and sees that there are human trafficking issues going on. The issue is a cycle of failure where they investigate, raid, arrest, and interrogate, just to run into uncooperative, unreliable victims who will not help them. Or it’s a constant game of Whac-A-Mole: even if they knock out one bad guy, another one pops up.
In order to move beyond awareness and create change, the root of the issue must be prioritized. Namely, network-based criminals require a more advanced form of attack than precedent tactics.
Prioritizing human trafficking data usage over victim corroboration is an underutilized method to combat human trafficking and advance law enforcement’s efforts. Investigating this data is key to attacking a whole network rather than one of its members. It can also serve as an entry-point and lead to intel in many other areas of law enforcement interest, including drug and weapon trafficking, money laundering, human smuggling, etc., since human trafficking networks are known for often being engaged in other criminal activities. Human trafficking data can be invaluable in creating change, not only in regards to human trafficking, but many other leading areas of crime.