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Preventing Human Trafficking:

Research on How to Stop Trafficking Before It Starts

November 2017

From left to right: Jennifer Woolard, Audrey Morrissey, Jill McLeigh, Joan Reid, Hanni Stoklosa

Approximately 40 million people worldwide, including many in the United States, are estimated to be victims of human trafficking—a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control people, including adults and children. Human trafficking can take many forms, such as commercial sexual exploitation, forced and bonded labor, or domestic servitude.


Congress’ extensive legislative framework, including the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, provides a needed infrastructure for combatting human trafficking at the national level, especially with regard to identifying and assisting victims, and prosecuting traffickers. Despite tremendous progress, little is being done to prevent this heinous crime before victims are claimed. The challenge now is to reinforce preventative strategies that stimulate local action and protect people who are vulnerable to traffickers.


On November 2, 2017 a congressional briefing was held in partnership with the Congressional Victims' Rights Caucus and several sponsors seen below.  A panel of researchers described (1) conditions that increase a person’s vulnerability to trafficking victimization, (2) community-based strategies that can be tailored to local needs by task forces and key stakeholders (such as law enforcement, faith-based organizations, and nonprofits), and (3) strategies that have the potential to reduce individual risk of victimization. Additionally, a survivor, Audrey Morrissey, shared her perspective on how her victimization could have been prevented.



Representative Ted Poe, Victims’ Rights Caucus Co-Chair

Joan Reid, PhD 

University of South Florida – St. Petersburg

Community Conditions that Increase Individual Vulnerability

Jill McLeigh, PhD

Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice

Local Strategy Development for Primary Prevention

Hanni Stoklosa, MD, MPH

HEAL Trafficking, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Strategies for Reducing Individual Risk of Victimization

Audrey Morrissey

My Life My Choice

A Survivor's Testimony on How Prevention Could Have Helped

For more information about this briefing including additional literature, contact:

Taylor Scott, Ph.D., Research-to-Policy Coordinator

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