Henderson, FBI Publish Strategies to Address Human Trafficking

Faculty Member Margaret Henderson

UNC School of Government faculty member Margaret Henderson has partnered with retired Raleigh Police Department detective Rick Hoffman to publish an extensive list of free and low-cost strategies to help law enforcement begin to address human trafficking.

The article in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin explores tangible initial steps agencies can take to increase their capacity to recognize, investigate, and charge cases of sex and labor trafficking. It provides an array of trafficking indicators, free training resources, language considerations, and community partnerships that law enforcement can use to better address trafficking in their jurisdictions.

While many agencies may currently lack personnel that focuses solely on cases of human trafficking, Henderson and Hoffman’s publication illustrates a multitude of ways for departments to strengthen their efforts. 

“No matter the size or budget of any law enforcement agency, there are high quality training resources available online, most of which are free,” Henderson said. “There is really no excuse to remain uninformed about the indicators of sex and labor trafficking, as well as how those crimes are often intertwined with others.”

Human trafficking is commonly broken into two broad generalizations: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Definitions provided by Polaris and the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act identify sex trafficking as the crime of using force, fraud, or coercion to induce another individual to sell sex. Labor trafficking is the crime of using force, fraud, or coercion to induce another individual to work or provide service.

Statistics from the National Human Trafficking Hotline and other research show survivors of human trafficking are disproportionately people of color. By taking advantage of resources to combat trafficking, law enforcement can promote equity and justice in their communities.

Henderson researches strategies that strengthen cross-sector working relationships and specializes in the practical implications of managing these collaborations. She has generated an array of resources to help local government officials combat human trafficking, and has recently published a blog post addressing the intersection of COVID-19 risk factors and human trafficking. Henderson regularly partners with School faculty and North Carolina organizations to improve education on trafficking indicators.