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Promoting a Paradigm Shift Within the Court

Not all court personnel need to participate in task forces; however, developing targeted training and coordination between task forces and court stakeholders (such as the following) will help enhance the overall results of a task force to respond proactively to human trafficking in their community:

  1. Provide training. Provide multidisciplinary training for all court stakeholders on topics such as understanding the needs of trafficking victims, addressing cultural competency and implicit bias, and achieving effective court-based responses. More information on training opportunities is available from the Center for Court Innovation.
  2. Engage in multidisciplinary collaboration to support victims. When taking inventory of community assets, consider the following questions: Which agencies currently serve victims of domestic violence and sexual assault? What culturally specific and gender-specific resources exist? What types of services are provided? What information is needed, and how will it be shared? The answers to these questions can help the courts refer victims to the most appropriate providers.
  3. Reduce collateral consequences. Collateral consequences include legal sanctions and restrictions that human trafficking victim-defendants experience daily as a result of a criminal arrest or conviction. These records have lasting impact on a victim-defendant’s capability to secure housing, find a job, and seek other forms of assistance. Consequently, effective human trafficking responses should eliminate or significantly reduce the number and impact of criminal convictions and the use of jail or detention of victim-defendants.
  4. Support trauma-informed practices. Use resources within the task force (such as mental health partners and victim service providers) to ensure that court procedures become as trauma informed as possible so that the victim feels safe and ultimately is more likely to participate in the criminal justice process.

For additional information and tools, visit Resources 6.3.