In collaboration with colleagues from New York University, RTI and CAST, Professor Amy Farrell received a nearly $1 million grant to study human trafficking for criminal exploitation, also known as forced criminality. This type of trafficking occurs when a victim is exploited by being forced to engage in illegal activities, such as street crime, begging, or drug trafficking. Little research exists on the extent of this issue and as a result victims are often arrested while in a trafficking situation. Compounding the problem, law enforcement often does not have adequate training to identify these situations and therefore individuals who are forced to commit crimes are rarely identified.
“Forced criminality victims are often invisible. In addition to traumas associated with experiencing force or coercion, they must endure stigma by the justice system and face numerous collateral consequences from their arrest and court involvement.”– Professor Amy Farrell
This study will investigate existing barriers to identification of forced criminality victims and the services and resources that could help meet victim needs. The research will increase the body of knowledge on forced criminality through the development of a brief screening tools, investigations of court records, and interviews to better understand forced criminality and ways to support victims who experience it.