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Improving Identification, Prevalence Estimation, and Earlier Intervention for Victims of Labor and Sex Trafficking: A Lessons Learned Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2024
23 pages

This report discusses progress made in developing and implementing methodologies for identifying, estimating, and intervening in human trafficking.


The study aimed to advance knowledge on human trafficking through the production of a replicable and scientifically sound method for measuring trafficking and producing valid prevalence estimates. The data obtained were sufficient to support county-level estimates of both sex and labor trafficking. Using a seven-item screener, they found 7.1% of those surveyed provided responses indicating victimization, and labor trafficking was found to be more prevalent that sex trafficking (64% and 36%, respectively). The study employed the hidden population estimation (HPE) method, which uses administrative data from institutions where trafficking victims appear, such as jail systems and providers of social services (e.g., homeless shelters, jail booking facilities, treatment services), to sample individuals. The estimation method relies on calculating the probability that people within a county will appear at the places of data collection, allowing us to model the size of the trafficked population relative to the size of the general population.

Date Published: May 1, 2024