The United States' Response to Human Trafficking: Sword of Justice or Paper Tiger

62 Pages Posted: 13 May 2016 Last revised: 1 Jun 2016

Date Written: May 11, 2016


The purpose of this Article is to examine the legislative response of the United States to human trafficking. Section I discusses the factors most frequently cited as contributing to the problem. Section II examines the international authority for interdicting trafficking. Section III examines the Unites States' response to the problem. It discusses the context in which the public awareness of the issue of trafficking has evolved and the culmination of this awareness in the enactment of federal legislation to address the problem. It also briefly examines the strategies mandated by the legislation on a national and international level and the ongoing role to be played by nongovernmental organizations in implementing this legislation by assisting with the identification of victims of severe forms of trafficking and provision of services to them. Section IV of this Article looks at some of the accomplishments of the legislation to date and lessons to be learned from its successes and its limitations.

Keywords: human trafficking, U.S. federal trafficking legislation, judicial challenges to antitrafficking legislation, role of the internet in human trafficking

JEL Classification: I30, K1, K10, K19, K30, K39

Suggested Citation

McKee, Kathleen A., The United States' Response to Human Trafficking: Sword of Justice or Paper Tiger (May 11, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Kathleen A. McKee (Contact Author)

Regent University - School of Law ( email )

1000 Regent University Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23464
United States

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