Innovative Court Responses

Different models of response for the victim-defendant are appropriate in a specialized court setting. Given the differences in court structure, culture, and victim-defendant needs, no universally applicable model can be applied across jurisdictions. Court-based human trafficking interventions rely on a set of common strategies and goals that aim to identify and divert trafficking victims (both sex and labor trafficking), promote interagency collaboration, and educate criminal justice practitioners on the dynamics of human trafficking and the associated trauma.

Resource: The Center for Court Innovation provides indepth information on different court models that address human trafficking, including community courts, specialized dockets, and human trafficking courts. A brief overview of the center is available at this link [PDF 214KB].

Court systems can investigate different ways that trafficking is addressed in their jurisdictions and can develop ways to enhance that response in a trauma-informed way. Such an approach may be through specialized courts and dockets or through the application of a trauma-informed approach within a traditional court structure. These changes may have a significant impact on how trafficking victims experience the court system, increasing their willingness to come forward as victims, cooperate with the criminal justice system, and promote their long-term recovery.

For additional information and tools, visit the Resource page for Section 6.4 Innovative Court Responses.