AEquitas - Champions for Justice

Field-Generated Human Trafficking

Despite increased public awareness of human trafficking and enhanced anti-trafficking efforts over the last two decades, research, experiences of AEquitas’ staff providing training and technical assistance (TTA), and trafficking survivors tell us that prosecution and law enforcement efforts have failed in three key ways: (1) victims and survivors of both labor trafficking and sex trafficking continue to be criminalized, (2) prosecution practices remain reactive and often coercive, and need to improve in order to be truly survivor-centered and trauma-informed; and (3) labor trafficking investigations and prosecutions in particular have lagged in proportion to known numbers of survivors.

Promising practices recognize that enhanced multidisciplinary teams are critical to an effective and comprehensive HT response; however, prosecutors have unique influence because they have the ultimate responsibility to put the law on the books into action. As the final “gatekeepers” to the system, prosecutors have the discretion to charge a case—which advances it, and future cases like it—or decline a case, effectively barricading similar cases from the system. Providing prosecutors with meaningful and consistent specialized support, access to rigorous training, better technologies, collaborative partners, and a network of world- class experts can help break down siloes and elevate their practice.

With funds from the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), AEquitas will provide customized TTA to local, state, tribal, and regional prosecutors’ offices across the United States; develop and provide prosecutors with the resources needed to lead efforts to eradicate trafficking in their jurisdictions; create a tool to enhance collaboration between local prosecutors and state Attorneys General; develop recommendations to minimize the reliance on undercover operations; promote promising practices to identify and investigate trafficking in targeted, innovative, and trauma informed ways; and collaborate with other leaders in the field to enhance the multidisciplinary response to human trafficking.


Details

Office for Victims of Crime

This project is delivered by AEquitas under 15POVC-21-GK-03263-HT, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Wisconsin Human Trafficking Conference

At the 2023 Wisconsin Human Trafficking Conference, Senior Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson presented “Considerations for Recording Human Trafficking Victim Interviews,” “Not Just Check the Box: Building Rapport and Trust with Victims of Human Trafficking,” “Human Trafficking of Boys, Men, and LGBTQ+ Individuals,” and “From Jail to Bail to Sale.”

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Sep 25, 2023 - Sep 28, 2023
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Stevens Point, WI
HOSTED BY
Wisconsin Department of Justice
Trafficking Within California’s Illicit Cannabis Industry

At the 2023 Trafficking Within California’s Illicit Cannabis Industry training, Senior Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson presented “The Reality of Labor within the Illicit Cannabis Industry,” “Strategic Charging of Organizations involved in Illicit Cannabis,” “Proving Coercion in Human Trafficking Cases,” “Forced Criminality,” “Engaging Survivors of Human Trafficking,” “Immigration Relief for Victims of Crime,” and “Documenting the Case: Setting the Prosecution Up for Success.”

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Aug 09, 2023 - Aug 10, 2023
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Los Angeles, CA
HOSTED BY
California Department of Cannabis Control
Cook County Human Trafficking Task Force Conference

At the 13th Annual Cook County Human Trafficking Task Force Conference, Senior Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson presented “What’s Immigration Got To Do With It? Prosecuting Human Trafficking Cases Involving Immigrants” and “Investigating and Prosecuting Human Trafficking Involving Male Victims.”

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Aug 08, 2023 - Aug 09, 2023
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Chicago, IL
HOSTED BY
Cook County Human Trafficking Task Force
Conference on Crimes Against Women (CCAW)

At the 2023 Conference on Crimes Against Women (CCAW), Senior Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson and Attorney Advisor Jenn Dolle presented “Building Human Trafficking Cases with Missing and Intimidated Victims” and “Using Experts to Combat Common Defenses in Human Trafficking Cases.”

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May 22, 2023 - May 25, 2023
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Dallas, TX
HOSTED BY
Conference on Crimes Against Women (CCAW)
Forced Criminality in Human Trafficking: Identifying and Intervening to Support Students

At the Department of Education’s virtual training, Senior Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson presented “Forced Criminality in Human Trafficking: Identifying and Intervening to Support Students.”

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Apr 19, 2023
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Virtual
HOSTED BY
Department of Education
Webinar Series: Human Trafficking in Illicit Massage

For The Network’s Webinar Series on human trafficking in illicit Massage, Senior Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson presented “An Organized (Crime) Response to Trafficking within the Illicit Massage Industry.”

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Mar 29, 2023
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Virtual
HOSTED BY
The Network
Oklahoma Human Trafficking Training

At the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics’ Human Trafficking Training, Attorney Advisor Jenn Dolle presented “Proving Coercion in Human Trafficking Cases,” “Forced Criminality,” “Immigration Relief for Victims of Trafficking,” “Engaging Survivors of Human Trafficking,” “Documenting the Case: Setting the Prosecution Up for Success,” and “Charging the Case.”

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Mar 27, 2023 - Mar 28, 2023
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Edmond, OK
HOSTED BY
Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics
National Indian Country Training

At the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Indian Country Training, Senior Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson presented “A SANE Approach to Human Trafficking Cases.”

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Jan 23, 2023
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Virtual
HOSTED BY
U.S. Department of Justice
National Convening: Human Trafficking in Illicit Massage

At The Network’s National Convening: Human Trafficking in Illicit Massage, Senior Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson and Attorney Advisor Jenn Dolle participated in a panel on “Promising Practices” and presented “Culture and Coercion” and “An Organized (Crime) Response to Trafficking within the Illicit Massage Industry.”

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Jan 10, 2023 - Jan 12, 2023
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Los Angeles, CA
HOSTED BY
The Network
Mississippi Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Seminar

At the 2022 Mississippi Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Seminar, Senior Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson and Attorney Advisor Jenn Dolle presented on "Building Human Trafficking Cases with Missing and Intimidated Victims" and "Using Experts to Combat Common Defenses."

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Oct 25, 2022 - Oct 26, 2022
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Oxford, MS
2022 Pennsylvania Rural Human Trafficking Summit

At the 2022 Pennsylvania Rural Human Trafficking Summit, Senior Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson presented "Breaking Down a History of Distrust" and participated in the panel "Trauma-Informed Strategies for Law Enforcement, Medical Professionals, and other System-Actors."

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Oct 18, 2022
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Online
Labor Trafficking Symposium

At the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service’s Labor Trafficking Symposium, Senior Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson presented “Proving Coercion,” “Forced Criminalist: Trauma-Informed Responses to Labor Trafficking within Criminal Enterprises,” and “Immigration Relief for Victims of Trafficking.”

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Oct 13, 2022
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Fort Worth, TX
HOSTED BY
Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX)
National Training Institute

At the NCVC's National Training Institute, Senior Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson and Attorney Advisor Lou Longhitano presented "Forced Criminality: Trauma-Informed Responses to Labor Trafficking in Criminal Enterprises" and "From Jail, to Bail, to Sale: Identifying Human Trafficking Survivors within the Criminal Justice System."

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Oct 06, 2022 - Oct 08, 2022
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St. Louis, MO
HOSTED BY
National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC)
2022 Florida Human Trafficking Summit

At the 2022 Florida Human Trafficking Summit, Senior Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson presented “Building Cases with Missing and Intimidated Victims.”

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Oct 04, 2022
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Virtual
HOSTED BY
Florida Attorney General
Meeting the Challenge: Building Trauma-Informed Approaches to Human Trafficking Investigations and Prosecutions

At this 2022 event, Attorney Advisor Jenn Dolle and Senior Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson presented "Being Trafficked: What You Need to Know", "Trauma-Informed Responses", "Writing it Right: Documenting Human Trafficking", "Conducting Trauma-Informed Investigations", "Assessing Culpability: Context before Conviction", "Combatting Common Defenses", and "Identifying and Responding to Witness Intimidation."

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Sep 26, 2022
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Nampa, ID
HOSTED BY
Nampa Family Justice Center
2022 Anti-Trafficking Conference

At the 2022 Anti-Trafficking Conference, Senior Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson presented "Building Cases with Missing and Intimidated Victims" and "Forced Criminality Case Study – The Perfect Plan: How Victor Rax Sexually Abused and Trafficked Boys in Salt Lake City."

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Aug 25, 2022
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Fort Wayne, IN
HOSTED BY
Great Kids Make Great Communities in partnership with the Southern Indiana Human Trafficking Coalition and the Anti-Trafficking Network of Northeast Indiana
Cook County Human Trafficking Task Force Conference

At the Cook County Human Trafficking Task Force Conference, Senior Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson and Attorney Advisor Jenn Dolle presented "Building Cases with Missing and Intimidated Victims" and "Working with Experts to Combat Common Defenses."

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Aug 09, 2022 - Aug 11, 2022
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Online
Forced Criminality: Labor Trafficking through the Lens of Utah’s Victor Rax Case

Senior Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson delivered the webinar, "Forced Criminality: Labor Trafficking through the Lens of Utah’s Victor Rax Case", for the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (VDCJS). While awareness of human trafficking is on the rise, there are still blind spots that prevent law enforcement from recognizing all forms of exploitation. Men, boys, and victims of labor trafficking through forced criminality are often overlooked because they do not fit the typical depiction of a human trafficking victim. However, in the case of Victor Rax, Utah’s Attorney General’s Office was able to identify dozens of boys and young men from immigrant communities who were forced to sell drugs after being sexually, spiritually, and physically abused.

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Jun 30, 2022
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Online
HOSTED BY
Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (VDCJS)
International Association of Human Trafficking Investigators (IAHTI) Conference

At the International Association of Human Trafficking Investigators (IAHTI) Conference, Senior Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson presented "Assessing Culpability: Context Before Conviction" with Rebecca Bender. 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 human trafficking responses and to better investigate and prosecute traffickers while ensuring that victims are not inappropriately charged with crimes they are forced to commit.

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Jun 02, 2022
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Tampa, FL
HOSTED BY
International Association of Human Trafficking Investigators
The International Association of Human Trafficking Investigators (IAHTI) Conference

At the 2022 International Association of Human Trafficking Investigators (IAHTI) Conference, Senior Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson presented "Assessing Culpability: Context Before Conviction."

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Jun 02, 2022
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HOSTED BY
The International Association of Human Trafficking Investigators (IAHTI)
Human Trafficking Intervention Training Series

Senior Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson presented "The Perfect Plan: How Victor Rax Sexually Abused and Trafficked Boys in Salt Lake City" at this virtual series hosted by Giant Slayer Consulting.

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May 19, 2022
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HOSTED BY
Giant Slayer Consulting
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Tapping into Offender Accountability: Using Wiretapping in State-Level Human Trafficking Cases

Law enforcement are regularly challenged to build cases that can be successfully prosecuted when victims are unable to participate. There are a myriad of ways to build cases that are not wholly dependent on victim testimony, and one powerful strategy is to use wiretaps that can capture communications and ulitmately establish the elements of “force, fraud, or coercion”. Eavesdropping warrant investigations are technical and resource-intensive, however they are highly effective in obtaining evidence to prosecute offenders without relying on testimony from victims who are often fearful, distrustful, intimidated, and traumatized

This training focuses on how prosecutors and law enforcement can effectively use eavesdropping warrants to hold traffickers accountable and build strong, actionable investigations even if wiretapping is not ultimately employed. Presenters provide approaches to maximize resources, even when limited, to enable jurisdictions of all sizes to utilize eavesdropping warrants. Additionally, practical strategies to comply with ethical and legal obligations are discussed, including methods to minimize harm and trauma to victims and survivors.

Learning Objectives:
-Build an investigation sufficient to support an application for an eavesdropping warrant
-Define legal requirements before, during, and after intercepting electronic communications
-Litigate pretrial motions to admit out-of-court statements and expert testimony

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Apr 11, 2023
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Online
HOSTED BY
AEquitas
View External Link
Tapping into Offender Accountability: Using Wiretapping in State-Level Human Trafficking Cases

Law enforcement are regularly challenged to build cases that can be successfully prosecuted when victims are unable to participate. There are a myriad of ways to build cases that are not wholly dependent on victim testimony, and one powerful strategy is to use wiretaps that can capture communications and ultimately establish the elements of “force, fraud, or coercion”. Eavesdropping warrant investigations are technical and resource-intensive, however they are highly effective in obtaining evidence to prosecute offenders without relying on testimony from victims who are often fearful, distrustful, intimidated, and traumatized

This training focuses on how prosecutors and law enforcement can effectively use eavesdropping warrants to hold traffickers accountable and build strong, actionable investigations even if wiretapping is not ultimately employed. Presenters provide approaches to maximize resources, even when limited, to enable jurisdictions of all sizes to utilize eavesdropping warrants. Additionally, practical strategies to comply with ethical and legal obligations are discussed, including methods to minimize harm and trauma to victims and survivors.

Learning Objectives:
-Build an investigation sufficient to support an application for an eavesdropping warrant
-Define legal requirements before, during, and after intercepting electronic communications
-Litigate pretrial motions to admit out-of-court statements and expert testimony

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Apr 11, 2023
Webinar Icon
From Jail, to Bail, to Sale: Trafficking and the Criminal Justice System

Traffickers target individuals whom they believe they can exploit with impunity – individuals who are accessible, vulnerable, and less likely to report their exploitation to law enforcement. As a result, individuals who have a criminal record, are under court supervision, or are otherwise subject to the authority of the criminal justice system are at higher risk for exploitation. Individuals who also struggle with addiction and substance use disorders are especially vulnerable to coercion. The Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report has identified “participants in court-ordered substance use diversion programs” as individuals especially vulnerable to sex and labor trafficking, and recent news reports have validated this assertion. Likewise, the U.S. Department of Justice’s 2022 National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking includes action items aimed at countering common trafficker tactics of manipulating and exploiting individuals with substance use disorders.

This presentation identifies trafficking schemes that involve recruitment from local jails and prisons, as well as from court-sanctioned treatment programs as an alternative to incarceration. The presenters focus on strategies to address victim safety concerns and investigate and prosecute trafficking that intersects with the criminal justice system. Throughout the discussion, the presenters underscore the importance of trauma-informed practices and a multidisciplinary response that includes meaningful access to survivor-led programing and low-barrier services, including appropriate healthcare.

Learning Objectives:
-Identify how traffickers identify, recruit, and coerce victims from jails, prisons, and court-ordered programs.
-Investigate and prosecute human trafficking cases in which victims have intersected with the criminal justice system.
-Collaborate with allied professionals to overcome barriers and provide meaningful access to justice for systems-involved victims.

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Jan 31, 2023
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Online
HOSTED BY
AEquitas
View External Link
A SANE Approach to Human Trafficking Cases

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) are invaluable collaborative partners in a prosecutor’s response to human trafficking. Victims of sex and labor trafficking are at risk of serious injury, as well as short- and long-term physical and psychological health consequences, and SANEs provide much-needed medical care to these patients. Trafficking investigations and prosecutions are also enhanced by the addition of SANEs to a multidisciplinary team. SANEs document injury, collect evidence, and provide critical insight into medical issues and survivor responses to trauma that can educate criminal justice practitioners and jurors alike.

Co-presented by SANE and prosecutor subject-matter experts, this presentation demonstrates the value of collaboration in trafficking cases. The SANE explains the health risks associated with sex and labor trafficking, the content of a medical forensic examination, and documentation of victim statements and demeanor. The prosecutor provides strategies to improve the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases by using SANEs as fact and expert witnesses and litigating the admissibility of victim statements under the medical hearsay exception.

At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be better able to:
-Enhance prosecutions by ensuring that victims of sex and labor trafficking are provided meaningful access to health care and injuries and medical history are documented
-Articulate the role of the SANE in providing medical-forensic exams
-Present medical evidence and expert testimony at trial

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Oct 27, 2022
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Online
HOSTED BY
AEquitas
View External Link
Maximizing Justice, Minimizing Harm: The Prosecutors’ Role in Achieving Survivor-Centered Justice

Prosecutors are leaders, serving their communities by protecting victims and holding offenders accountable. Prosecutors wield wide powers of discretion and therefore are tasked with being gatekeepers to, and from, the criminal justice system. When communities develop responses to human trafficking cases, prosecutors are uniquely positioned to guide policies and practices, including how victims and survivors are treated when they interact with the criminal justice system. Beyond the traditional role in the courtroom, prosecutors can also shape community responses by convening members of the community, educating the public, and prioritizing operations aimed at identifying and serving the most vulnerable individuals in our communities.

This presentation focuses on how prosecutors can collaborate with others to better serve their communities by holding traffickers accountable and protecting victims and survivors in meaningful ways. The presenters will provide strategies to leverage the prosecutor’s leadership role to positively influence how investigations are initiated, conducted, and charged. Additionally, the prosecutor’s overlapping ethical obligations will be discussed, focused on the duty to achieve justice over convictions and to proactively remedy wrongful convictions.

Learning Objectives:
-Leverage leadership role to promote trauma-informed, victim-centered policies and practices
-Collaborate with traditional and non-traditional partners to hold offenders accountable
-Partner with victim service professionals to ensure that survivors of sex and labor trafficking have meaningful access to appropriate services

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Jul 28, 2022
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Online
HOSTED BY
AEquitas
View External Link
The Perfect Plan: How Victor Rax Sexually Abused and Trafficked Boys in Salt Lake City

While awareness of human trafficking is on the rise, there are still blind spots that prevent law enforcement from recognizing all forms of exploitation. Men, boys, and victims of labor trafficking through forced criminality are often overlooked because they do not fit the typical depiction of a human trafficking victim. However, in the case of Victor Rax, Utah’s Attorney General’s Office was able to identify dozens of boys and young men from immigrant communities who were forced to sell drugs after being sexually, spiritually, and physically abused.

The presenters use the Rax case as a backdrop to discuss the realities of labor trafficking through forced criminality, including how traffickers use grooming tactics common in both child sexual abuse cases and in gang culture to recruit and coerce victims to commit crimes. Strategies to better identify and respond to cases of forced criminality are discussed through a detailed examination of the Rax investigation which led to his eventual arrest for sexual abuse and labor trafficking.

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Online