Screening for Human Trafficking
We are well aware that Kentucky has a small, but growing, immigrant community. According to the Immigration Council in 2015, 157,336 immigrants comprised 3.6 percent of our state’s population.
One year later, the Courier Journal reported that 45,000 immigrants are undocumented. My purpose today is not to debate the issue of illegal immigration, but to bring to your attention a new tool that has been developed by the Vera Institute of Justice to help screen for victims of human trafficking.
According to the National Institute of Justice, this screening tool has been determined to be highly reliable and valid at predicting victimization for both sex and labor trafficking cases. There is both a long version and a short version for this tool.
I recommend the short version for officers in the field and the long version for social service and investigators who have a longer time period to interview.
However, no tool is going to be effective unless the person doing the interview uses empathy and sensitivity when talking with the person. Remember they are scared and traumatized. You are the person they have been told by a trafficker will do a whole lot worse to them than the trafficker is doing. You will take their freedom, children and send them back to a life they were willing to be trafficked to leave. Thus, you must build trust, ensure that you are there to keep them safe and help set them up with social services.
The tool itself can be found here. Included there you will find information on:
• Setting up the interview
• Developing trust and demonstrating respect during interviews
• Maintaining confidentiality
• Understanding the effects of trauma and victimization
• Additional considerations
Remember we are the sheepdog. We protect those that are helpless against the wolves of the world. Be safe and check your six!