Because human trafficking is a dynamic and emerging crime, it is crucial for task forces to present and maintain a clear picture of how human trafficking affects their communities and how traffickers are changing their tactics.
It is recommended that task forces maintain data on investigations and characteristics of trafficking victims, and commit to reviewing this information regularly, either quarterly or biannually as needed. Analysis does not have to be time consuming, but good data will help to improve operations.
Types of Data to Collect
Tools: Pencil-to-Paper Data Collection Forms from TIMS Online for Service Providers
These forms can be used to track data while in the field or during intake. They can also be used to track such activities as outreach and training.
Data should include characteristics of perpetrators (country of origin, age, gender, methods for recruitment, etc.) and characteristics of victims (country of origin, age, gender, type of trafficking, etc.). This information can help task forces identify appropriate community partners such as migrant worker outreach groups, translators, or street outreach organizations (see Section 2.3 on Assessing the Problem). Data presentations to local leaders can also help to increase buy-in and support for the task force efforts.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance maintains a national database called the Human Trafficking Reporting System (HTRS), which is managed by Northeastern University. HTRS tracks investigations of alleged human trafficking reported by federally funded human trafficking task forces. The data reported into the HTRS are used to track task force performance and also depict the types of trafficking cases that are investigated by task forces operating across the country as well as the types of trafficking victims who are identified by agencies participating on these task forces. There are several reports available on Northeastern's Web site.
The Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC TTAC) developed the Trafficking Information Management System (TIMS), which is designed to assist OVC Anti-Human Trafficking Program grantees in gathering, recording, analyzing, and reporting data. This tool can serve as a case management tool to track client information on victims of human trafficking. The “pencil to paper” forms can be used to track data while in the field or during intake. They can also be used to track such activities as outreach and training.
Whether task force members use data collection systems such as HTRS or TIMS (note: these are national databases for BJA/OVC grantees only), or have other systems that are unique or internal to their organization, it is recommended that data from respective systems be shared and compared among members of the task force. TIMS and HTRS are designed to produce reports that can be shared among task force members, which can help identify gaps in victim identification and services.
Task forces can also reach out to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) to request data about the task force’s area that is obtained from the national hotline, such as call volume, caller demographics, cases identified, and more.
Local hotlines, including those from member organizations and allied professionals, may also be helpful in this instance.
For additional information and tools, visit the Resource page for Section 3.2 Information Sharing.