Problem-Solving Courts

The response to trafficking victims can be incorporated into existing problem-solving courts. Many jurisdictions already have problem-solving courts where victim-defendants may appear, so it is important for task forces to engage with their local problem-solving courts to help inform and enhance victim-defendant identification and coordination of trauma-informed services.

Problem-solving courts invoke the power of the court to help leverage a more informed response across a multidisciplinary team. Judicial officers serve in a neutral role as leaders and collaborators, helping to enhance collaboration among the multidisciplinary team members, including:

  • Prosecutors
  • Defense counsel
  • Law enforcement officers
  • Probation and parole officers
  • Child Protection Services or Department of Human Services staff members
  • Treatment providers
  • Case managers.

Community Courts
Community courts focus on reducing crime and incarceration and improving the public perception of the court system. To address human trafficking, community courts may identify alternative treatment as a way of addressing underlying social issues as well as reducing jail time.

Example: The Cleveland Municipal Court has a specialized human trafficking docket that screens potential victims for referral to recovery support services.

Specialized Dockets

Rather than specific courts, some jurisdictions may have specialized dockets, with a dedicated staff to provide a specialized and trauma-informed response to identified victim-defendants. These dockets may rely on a trauma-informed screening method throughout the entire court to ensure that victim-defendants are identified and referred appropriately.

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