Victim-Centered Investigations

Smart Practice: Full access to victim services should always be provided, regardless of a trafficking victim's decision to work with law enforcement.

Victims are crucial to human trafficking investigations and prosecutions. In many human trafficking cases, only the victim can explain the coercion and control that is a basic element of the crime of human trafficking. A victim-centered investigation respects the dignity of the victim and adapts, wherever possible, to meet the needs and wishes of the victim.

Victim-centered means—

Visit Faces of Human Trafficking to view related materials. View the Transcript.
  • Victims need to be safe and supported.
  • Victims should know and understand their rights.
  • All task force members must ensure victims receive services to rebuild their lives.

The task force structure affords law enforcement access to critical resources that can help them in supporting the victim, which allows law enforcement to focus on investigating the crime.

Law enforcement should note the following information from the Multidisciplinary Collaborative Model for Anti-Human Trafficking Task Forces: Development and Operations Roadmap [PDF 941KB] related to the different stages of victim-centered and trauma informed approaches to investigations. Please take a look at the Investigations section related to victim-centered and trauma-informed approach.

For additional information and tools, visit the Resource page for Section 5.1 Victim-Centered Investigations.