Addressing Human Trafficking

What is Human Trafficking?

As defined by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and its subsequent reauthorizations, human trafficking as defined in 22 U.S.C. § 7102(9) means sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform an act has not attained 18 years of age; or the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

Human trafficking is a crime that involves exploiting a person for labor, services, or commercial sex. It exists across the globe, in all communities, and all forms of labor. Community policing provides a promising roadmap to tackling human trafficking with the emphasis on problem solving, building partnerships, and shifting the organizational culture and structure. COPS Office resources highlight promising practices that law enforcement can use to address human trafficking.

COPS Office Resources

Below Ten: Combating Drugs, Guns, and Human Trafficking at the U.S. Southwest Border

The Below Ten project focused on three cities located on or below Interstate 10 - (1) Nogales, Arizona; (2) Pharr, Texas; and (3) San Diego, California - and their efforts to respond to a wide range of problems related to guns, drugs, and human trafficking. A key component of the project was the series of summits held to develop stakeholder-led plans to respond to the wide range of humanitarian, commercial, and enforcement issues. This publication describes the outcomes of these summits, which brought community members together with local, state, federal, and tribal law enforcement; public health providers; social services; and other groups to identify problems, challenges, and solutions. It also provides detailed information on the approach adopted by each community and the activities that have been sustained since the project ended.

Child Sex Trafficking: A Training Series for Frontline Officers

Child Sex Trafficking: A Training Series for Frontline Officers is a toolkit developed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police in partnership with the FBI and the COPS Office. It includes a series of training videos to be used for training within law enforcement agencies across the country, a discussion guide meant to reinforce key information contained in the videos and to assist officers in applying this knowledge to their role as first responders in their community, and quick reference sheets to supplement the videos and discussion guide.

Combating Child Sex Trafficking: A Guide for Law Enforcement Leaders

Child sex trafficking involves a number of crimes requiring law enforcement to collaborate with multiple partners to identify and respond to the child victims while holding accountable those who are responsible for their exploitation. Combating this crime requires working with prosecutors, schools, victim service providers, parole officers, child welfare agencies, community members, and others. This guide aims to help law enforcement leaders adopt effective multidisciplinary approaches to address this crime and provides tips on training, identifying resources, and engaging communities. This guide also includes descriptions of effective programs in five law enforcement jurisdictions.

Exploitation of Trafficked Women

This guide describes the problem of exploiting women who have been trafficked into the United States and the aspects of human trafficking that contribute to it. Additionally, the guide focuses on the final period in the process of trafficking at which women are further exploited by those into whose hands they are passed. The guide identifies a series of questions that can help law enforcement analyze their local problems related to trafficking of women. Finally, it reviews responses to the exploitation of trafficked women and examines what is known about the effectiveness of these responses from research and police practice.

COPS Office Training Portal – Human Trafficking Resources

The COPS Training Portal provides a variety of courses that the COPS Office offers for identifying and combating human trafficking. Check back often for new resources and courses as they become available.

Collaborative Reform Initiative Technical Assistance Center (CRI-TAC)

The Collaborative Reform Initiative Technical Assistance Center (CRI-TAC) program provides critical and tailored technical assistance resources to state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies on a wide variety of topics, including human trafficking. To learn more visit,

Partnerships to Address Labor Trafficking Toolkit

Labor trafficking is a crime that involves compelling or coercing a person to provide labor or services and affects persons of all ages, races, genders, and nationalities. Labor traffickers often prey on those with vulnerable life circumstances and economic hardships. Labor trafficking victims can be found in legal and illegal labor industries, as well as hidden behind closed doors and in plain view. This toolkit provides resources for law enforcement, businesses, communities, and other stakeholders to identify, respond to, and address labor trafficking and to support its victims and survivors.