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Finding US Citizen Victims of Labor Trafficking: Methodological Challenges and Innovations

03/18/20 - BOSTON, M.A. - Northeastern University stock on March 18, 2020. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Project Overview

This project is intended to develop partnerships with social service and government agencies, and community contacts in New York City, San Diego and Anchorage who work with populations vulnerable to labor trafficking and labor exploitation. Building on these partnerships, the research team is employing chain referral sampling mechanisms to identify US citizens and permanent residents who are vulnerable to labor trafficking victimization. Identified individuals will take a survey about their experiences and refer additional respondents who may be in similar positions of vulnerability. A description of the methodological approach for identifying this highly hidden population and preliminary data from survey will be presented to begin identifying the range of labor trafficking experiences and the characteristics of individuals and contexts of situations where labor trafficking of US citizens occurs. Findings from the study are intended to broaden our understanding of how U.S. citizens fall victim to labor trafficking and will inform efforts to identify and effectively serve a broad range labor trafficking victim in the US.

Research Team

Meredith Dank, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Amy Farrell, Northeastern University

Sheldon Zhang, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Research Assistants

Stephen Abeyta, Northeastern University

Candence Wills, Northeastern University

Andrea Hughes, John Jay College of Criminal Justice


National Institute of Justice

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