CRVAW Faculty Journal Articles

Does Training Make a Difference? An Evaluation of a Specialized Human Trafficking Training Module for Law Enforcement Officers


Since 2008, the US federal government has prioritized human trafficking prosecutions, although the expectation is that these cases will be brought to federal prosecutors by local law enforcement authorities. Recent research shows, however, that while local law enforcement officers are typically well positioned to identify human trafficking victims, most do not think human trafficking occurs in their jurisdictions and few are prepared to identify and investigate such cases. Recognizing the need for training of law enforcement regarding human trafficking, the Department of Criminal Justice Training at the Kentucky Leadership Institute undertook a statewide training conducted by victim advocates. This article reports the results of an evaluation of that training module. The article discusses the effectiveness of the program in terms of: (1) raising awareness of human trafficking in the officers' jurisdictions, (2) increasing officers' self-reported likelihood of identifying and investigating suspected human trafficking cases, and (3) the dissemination of knowledge gained through training from executive-level and mid-level officers to patrol-level officers. The findings show that participation in the training produced positive, but limited effects with regard to each of the three outcomes of interest.

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Published in Journal of Crime and Justice, v. 38, issue 3, p. 334-350.

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