Information Sharing: The Key to Combating Human Trafficking
Widely regarded as modern slavery, human trafficking refers to the act of profiting from the control and exploitation of others, most commonly in the context of forced labor, sexual slavery, forced marriage, and organ harvesting. Victims often lose their identity, dignity, and self-worth.
The most common barrier that exists in human trafficking is proper identification of both the trafficking victims and their perpetrators. For example:
1. Law enforcement agencies lack a central database to share critical information. Inconsistent information gathering on both human trafficking victims, as well as their perpetrators, and inconsistent data management hinders law enforcement agencies in their ability to identify perpetrators within their own records management systems and to share that information externally.
2. Centralizing juvenile criminal information is often restricted according to state law. Many agencies also have policies that restrict the ability to retain, access, or share juvenile data.
We need to embrace clear information sharing strategies that both government and non-government partners can easily adopt.
Equally, training plays an integral part in raising awareness on the issue of human trafficking, yet is rarely a part of state and local government’s mandatory training curriculum. Establishing a universal training course across all levels of government and non-government entities is critical in fighting human trafficking.
Once agencies understand how to peel the layers away from where trafficking exists through clear information sharing strategies and standardized training policies, they can make substantial progress against this fast-growing form of organized crime.