Collaboration among task forces and court stakeholders is essential to developing a successful response to human trafficking, whether the collaboration is the product of formal task force membership or coordinated support. Some court stakeholders, such as prosecutors and victim service providers, generally can play an active part in most roles within the task force. Other court stakeholders, such as judges and defense attorneys, can also provide a needed perspective in the task force but need to refrain from any case-related task work. These roles within the task force should be clearly defined to cultivate buy-in from all key parties.
Jurisdictions across the country are developing new and different court-based responses to human trafficking. Some courts use enhanced traditional case processing to improve outcomes for victim-defendants, while others have developed specialized dockets that provide comprehensive assessments, judicial monitoring, and an array of social services. Many initiatives prioritize juvenile delinquency cases, focusing largely on commercial sexual exploitation of children and sex trafficking. Other projects work with adults and tackle a broader range of relevant criminal charges, such as prostitution, loitering, and drug possession.
Some courts even have the capacity to convene and lead multidisciplinary committees that aim to foster collaboration among stakeholders and generate new responses to the problems associated with human trafficking. While these responses may vary, in general, they all rely on multidisciplinary collaboration among key court stakeholders—the judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, probation officers, and victim service providers.
For additional information and tools, visit Resources 6.1 Court Stakeholders.