Recent National Human Trafficking Data Collections
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program and the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), Victim Services Statistical Research Program (VSSRP) are the two largest and most comprehensive resources for information relating to crime and victimization in the United States. While the UCR and the VSSRP serve separate purposes, they complement each other in a number of ways. The most important distinction between the two is that the UCR reports information regarding crimes known to law enforcement agencies (but currently cannot reflect unreported crime), while the VSSRP measures reported and unreported victimizations, helping researchers identify hidden victimizations that the UCR is unable to track. Together the UCR and the VSSRP provide researchers, policymakers, and the public with a general understanding regarding the state of crime and victimization in the United States.
The FBI is required to collect human trafficking (HT) data under the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008. As a result, the FBI established the UCR-HT data collection as part of its UCR Program in 2013. UCR-HT 2013-2020 data (released quarterly) are under Crime Data Explorer (CDE) | Documents and Downloads | Additional Datasets | Human Trafficking. The HT 2013-2020 download (File type: Zip; Last modified: September 6, 2021; File size: 83.3 KB) dataset (4417 rows, 19 columns) provides totals by state and offense (commercial sex acts and involuntary servitude). Historical HT publications (2013-2019) are on the UCR Publications page (Topical Crime Reports | Human Trafficking).
The BJS is required to prepare an annual report on HT under the Combat Human Trafficking Act of 2015 (CHTA - 34 U.S.C. § 20709(e)(2)(B)). The report must include information on the following:
The number of arrests for HT offenses by state law enforcement officers
The number of prosecutions of individuals in state courts for HT offenses
The number of convictions of individuals in state courts for HT offenses
Sentences imposed on individuals convicted in state courts for HT offenses
Amy D. Lauger and Matthew R. Durose, “Human Trafficking Data Collection Activities, 2021,” BJS, NCJ Number 302732, October 2021, provides the following UCR-HT 2020 highlights:
The UCR-HT understates the full scope of HT offenses known to local law enforcement (some state UCR programs and local law enforcement agencies are unable to collect data on human trafficking through their record management systems - RMS)
Participation in the UCR-HT has grown, with the number of reporting states increasing from 37 in 2015 to 47 in 2020; 31 states reported at least one HT arrest in 2020
Among the local law enforcement agencies participating in the UCR-HT in 2020, 412 reported at least one HT offense involving a commercial sex act; additionally, 155 agencies reported between 2 and 10 HT offenses involving commercial sex acts in 2020; 27 agencies reported between 11 and 100 HT offenses involving commercial sex acts, while 2 agencies reported 101 or more of these offenses
Reported arrests for HT involving commercial sex acts increased from 684 in 2015 to 880 in 2016 before declining to 301 in 2020; 19 states had between 1 and 10 arrests for HT involving commercial sex acts in 2020; 2 states (Texas and Georgia) reported more than 25 arrests for HT involving commercial sex acts in 2020
Among the agencies participating in the UCR-HT, 145 agencies reported at least one HT offense involving involuntary servitude in 2020; 41 agencies reported between 2 and 10 HT offenses involving involuntary servitude in 2020, while four agencies reported between 11 and 40 and one agency reported 41 or more
The number of arrests reported for HT involving involuntary servitude increased from 66 in 2015 to 146 in 2019 before declining to 92 in 2020; 10 states reported 1 or 2 arrests for HT involving involuntary servitude; 5 states reported between 3 and 25 arrests for this offense in 2020, while one state (Texas) reported 26 or more
Survey of State Attorneys General Offices, Human Trafficking (SSAGO-HT)
The BJS is establishing a new data collection program designed to conduct regular surveys of state attorneys general offices entitled Survey of State Attorneys General Offices (SSAGO). BJS routinely surveys law enforcement agencies, corrections agencies, state and local prosecutor offices, and indigent defense offices; however, the lack of data on state attorneys general offices is a significant gap. State attorneys general play an important role in the criminal and civil justice systems since they are the chief legal officers of their states and often represent their state in antitrust actions, consumer protections, criminal appeals, and serious statewide prosecutions.
The 2018 SSAGO-HT is BJS’s first data collection on the roles of state attorneys general in combatting HT. The survey received responses from attorneys general offices in 43 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marianas Islands, for an overall response rate of 84%. The 2018 SSAGO-HT asked state attorneys general to provide information on:
Charging practices for sex- and labor-trafficking cases
Characteristics of offenders and victims of human trafficking
How cases are referred to state attorneys general for review and possible prosecution
Case outcomes for cases prosecuted by state attorneys general.
Attorneys general offices reported receiving referrals of HT cases from a variety of sources.
Suzanne M. Strong, “Human-Trafficking Offenses Handled by State Attorneys General Offices, 2018,” BJS, NCJ 254803, Mar 2021, highlights:
HT cases were most commonly referred to attorneys general offices by state and local police departments
More offices reported prosecuting HT cases involving individual offenders than offenders that were businesses or groups of individuals
More offices reported labor-trafficking cases involving only adult victims than both minor and adult victims
More offices reported sex-trafficking cases involving both minor and adult victims than only minor or only adult victims
The majority of attorneys general offices offered victim services, with counseling and housing being the most common
Maryland and Virginia were the only two states that had no labor-trafficking statute
The BJS developed the National Census of Victim Service Providers (NCVSP), the National Survey of Victim Service Providers (NSVSP), and the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) as part of its VSSRP to build knowledge about victim services by collecting and analyzing national data from victims and the diverse entities that serve victims in all states. The VSSRP works to address gaps in understanding of how victim services are provided, including:
The organizations and agencies that make up the victim services field
How victim service providers (VSPs) are staffed, funded, and organized
The number of crime victims that VSPs serve each year
The range of services offered and provider perceptions of gaps across the field
The NCVSP collection provides national data on all programs and organizations that served victims of crime or abuse within the year prior to the survey. The 2017 collection included data from about 12,200 organizations that served victims of crime or abuse as their primary function, or that had dedicated staff or programs to serve victims. The NCVSP identifies the size and scope of the victim service provider (VSP) field, including the number of VSPs, where they are located, the number of victims they serve, and VSP concerns about funding and staffing. Information from the NCVSP provides a sampling frame for follow-up surveys on VSPs, including BJS' NSVSP.
Barbara A. Oudekerk, Heather Warnken, Lynn Langton, “Victim Service Providers in the United States, 2017,” BJS, NCJ 252648, Nov 2019, highlights:
Almost 90% of VSPs were non-proft or faith-based organizations (45%) or governmental agencies with staf or programs to serve crime victims (43%)
Most governmental VSPs operated in prosecutors’ offices (18% of all VSPs) or law enforcement agencies (15%)
Hospital, medical, or emergency facilities with dedicated victim programs made up 3% of VSPs
The data tables download (Zip format, 5K) provides four .csv spreadsheets (a list of Filenames |Table titles are in the readme.txt file).
The NSVSP provides national data on programs and organizations that served victims of crime or abuse within the year prior to the survey. It aims to fill important gaps in our understanding of victim service providers (VSPs) and the victims they serve, providing insight into how the field is equipped to meet victims' needs. The 2019 collection used a representative sample from the 2017 National Census of Victim Service Providers (NCVSP) and surveyed about 7,200 organizations that served victims of crime or abuse as their primary function or that had dedicated staff or programs to serve victims. The NSVSP collects detailed information about the victim services field, including the range of services being provided to victims, characteristics of victims who received services, characteristics of staff providing services to victims, and gaps in services.
Alexandra Thompson, Rachel E. Morgan, Heather B. Warnken, Barbara A. Oudekerk, “Services for Crime Victims, 2019,” NCJ 300741, October 2021, highlights:
Tribal victim service providers (VSPs) provided the greatest range of services on average (32)
About three-quarters of VSPs (71%) assisted victims with fling for a restraining, protection, or no-contact order
Three-quarters of VSPs (75%) provided immediate or emergency safety planning to victims
Most VSPs (81%) reported that shelter or housing was a difficult service to obtain
Law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, police, or sheriffs’ departments, were among the top-three sources of victim referrals to VSPs (69%)
The data tables download (Zip format, 23K) contains 17 .csv spreadsheets (a list of Filenames | Table titles are in the readme.txt file).
The NCVS is the nation's primary source of information on criminal victimization. Each year, data are obtained from a nationally representative sample of about 240,000 interviews on criminal victimization, involving 160,000 unique persons in about 95,000 households. Persons are interviewed on the frequency, characteristics, and consequences of criminal victimization in the United States. Survey respondents provide information about themselves (e.g., age, sex, race and Hispanic origin, marital status, education level, and income) and whether they experienced a victimization. For each victimization incident, the NCVS collects information about the offender (e.g., age, race and Hispanic origin, sex, and victim-offender relationship), characteristics of the crime (e.g., time and place of occurrence, use of weapons, nature of the injury, and economic consequences), whether the crime was reported to police, reasons the crime was or was not reported, and victim experiences with the criminal justice system. Gaps exist, particularly for emerging crimes, including elder victimization, human trafficking, financial crime (especially Internet-based fraud), stalking, and mass casualty crimes.
Rachel E. Morgan and Alexandra Thompson, “Criminal Victimization, 2020,” BJS, NCJ 301775, Oct 2021, Full Report (22 pages), Summary (1 page), Data Tables download (Zip format, 24K – provides 11 .csv spreadsheets - list of Filenames |Table titles are in the readme.txt file), highlights:
The violent victimization rate declined from 21.0 per 1,000 persons age 12 or older in 2019 to 16.4 per 1,000 in 2020
The number of violent crimes, excluding simple assault, fell from 2.0 million in 2019 to 1.6 million in 2020
The number of burglary and trespassing victimizations declined from 2019 (2.2 million) to 2020 (1.7 million)
About 40% of violent victimizations and 33% of property victimizations were reported to police in 2020
Directory of Crime Victim Services
The DOJ, OJP Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) provides an online Directory of Crime Victim Services (filters include: Type of Victimization, Type of Service Provided, State, Country, Keyword) that helps users locate victim services in the United States and other countries. Currently there are over 16K VSPs in the directory. In the future, the Directory will include victim service organizations who participated in the BJS’ 2019 NSVSP.