Assessment of Policies and Programs to Combat Human Trafficking
145 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2011
Date Written: July 21, 2011
Little research has been conducted to evaluate recent anti-trafficking policy initiatives and programs. This is particularly problematic because policymakers, service providers, and activists across the United States are looking to recent research to help identify what efforts have been effective and what efforts have not or could be improved. Many states also are reevaluating their efforts and considering new approaches, but have even less knowledge and understanding of the problem.
Massachusetts stands as one of only four states that currently lacks legislation specifying human trafficking as a crime. Although one bill introduced in 2009 passed the state Senate, it died in the House. Under the leadership of the Attorney General and key state legislators, new bills have been filed this year. Despite the apparent momentum for a landmark bill, it is not clear that the public or most members of the legislature and other policymakers view human trafficking as a problem here in Massachusetts.
To address this void, a team of researchers from the Bentley University Service-Learning Center and University Honors Program offered to assist the Massachusetts Governor‘s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence in drawing together what is known on the topic and evaluating programs that exist within and outside of the state. The report seeks to answer the following research questions: 1. To what extent is human trafficking a problem in Massachusetts? 2. What explains the variation among the U.S. states in policymaking outcomes on combating human trafficking? 3. How well are current law enforcement and prosecution strategies and specific programs to combat human trafficking working in practice? 4. How well are current strategies and specific programs to protect victims of sex trafficking working in practice? 5. How well are current prevention strategies and programs working in practice? 6. How can effective strategies and programs to combat human trafficking be adapted to effectively address the problem in Massachusetts?
Keywords: sex trafficking, state policy making, corporate responsibility
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