Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Assessment of County Level Human Trafficking Protocols

I was tasked to examine county level protocols on human trafficking for the Clayton County CEPR Multi-Disciplinary Team. A county level protocol directs people to resources and Clayton county is the county where I live and teach and so I have a vested interest in human trafficking work in the county where I live. The multi-disciplinary team related to the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) has been meeting for almost a year and works to investigate trafficking offenses, as well as, facilitate judicial proceedings for the prosecution of traffickers and help the victims. To my surprise there were no other county level protocols on human trafficking in Georgia. Further investigation revealed that county level protocols were relatively rare around the United States. Only nine county level protocols from different counties around the United States were located from counties such as Ross County, Ohio; Cook County, Illinois; San Mateo County, California; Howard County, Maryland; San Francisco, California; Orange County, California; and Lucas County, Ohio. All of the protocols were formulated by county-level human trafficking task forces. 

Here are a few of the findings from my research. The main components of the protocols included a mission statement, scope of the problem, different types of responsibilities allocated to law enforcement, victims service providers, criminal justice authorities, and education and community initiatives. All of the protocols/policies were adopted in the past two years. Some of the bigger counties around the United States such as Kind county in Seattle rely on state level protocols. All of the protocols promote a collaborative approach with multiple stakeholders from different agencies and these stakeholders have clearly defined roles in the protocol. New Jersey outlines the county level task forces/coalitions protocols "are very helpful, we have also learned from experience as well as from our counterparts in other parts of the country that building personal relationships and trust among those professionals working to combat and respond to trafficking is the most critical step. From that, protocols may emerge but it is the ability to be flexible and to respond to the unique circumstances of every case that brings value to the process." 

This cursory research will help the team develop the first county level human trafficking protocol in Georgia. We are set to discuss and examine a rough draft of the protocol that I am working on with my graduate student in April.  

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