In the first-ever report on the efficacy of the nation's anti-human trafficking efforts, co-authored by Northeastern criminologist Amy Farrell, researchers found that comprehensive laws that invested in fiscal and human resources - not harsher criminal penalties - increased arrests and prosecutions.
The severity of the criminal penalty for human trafficking in the U.S. has no effect on the number of suspects who are arrested and prosecuted for the crime, according to a wide-ranging new study by Northeastern criminologist Amy Farrell and her research partners.
The study also found that few states have developed the expertise to consistently charge human traffickers and that certain sex-related behaviors impact beliefs about what has now become known as modern-day slavery.
The findings were published Monday by the National Institute of Justice, which funded the research with a three-year, $500,000 grant. The study—titled “Identifying Effective Counter-Trafficking Programs and Practices in the U.S.: Legislative, Legal, and Public Opinion Strategies that Work”—represents the first-ever report on the efficacy of the nation’s anti-human trafficking efforts, and its release coincides with Human Trafficking Awareness Month.