Just Exits: Assessing Culpability: Context Before Conviction

Human traffickers assert force, fraud, and coercion against victims in order to profit from commercial sex or forced labor or services. Offenders use a variety of tactics designed to ensure that victims will do what they are told without resistance, questioning, or disclosure to law enforcement. This physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual control too often allows traffickers to escape accountability.  This presentation is designed to improve responses to trafficking and exploitation while ensuring that victims are not inappropriately charged with crimes they are forced to commit.


Collaboration is key to any response to trafficking and exploitation, but imperative where the complexity of victim-offender dynamics is not easily understood or revealed.  This presentation provides law enforcement and prosecutors with strategies to uncover the reality of the victim’s involvement in the trafficking organization or within the exploitation dynamic. Presenters provide a framework for assessing the culpability of individuals who may initially be identified as both victims and defendants. They also provide suggestions to assist prosecutors in making ethical and appropriate immunity and charging decisions as well as designing appropriate dispositions.