The Insti­tute on Race and Jus­tice (IRJ) at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity was awarded a $440,448 grant by the Bureau of Jus­tice Sta­tis­tics (BJS), U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice, to develop and imple­ment the first data col­lec­tion and reporting system on cases of human traf­ficking. In col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Urban Insti­tute (UI) in Wash­ington D.C., the Human Traf­ficking Reporting System (HTRS) will be designed, piloted and rolled out to human traf­ficking task forces throughout the U.S., starting Jan­uary 1, 2008.

Pre­ven­tion and inter­ven­tion strate­gies cur­rently lack a nation­wide system that col­lects and dis­sem­i­nates data about inci­dents, inves­ti­ga­tions, arrests and pros­e­cu­tions,” said Jack McDe­vitt, Director of the IRJ. “This project will be a ground­breaking way of dealing with this problem and will create a novel infor­ma­tion hub that con­nects indi­vid­uals and orga­ni­za­tions working toward elim­i­nating human trafficking.”

McDe­vitt and Amy Far­rell, Asso­ciate Director at the IRJ and Prin­cipal Research Sci­en­tist, have been researching what the fed­eral gov­ern­ment calls “a modern day form of slavery” for the past sev­eral years. As part of the HTRS project, their research team will work closely with 42 federally-​​funded human traf­ficking task forces to develop a stan­dard­ized reporting mech­a­nism that will cap­ture infor­ma­tion on human traf­ficking cases.

Until now, most human traf­ficking cases have come to the atten­tion of law enforce­ment through agen­cies involved with one of these existing task forces,” said Amy Far­rell. “As a coor­di­nated strategy, the new system will rou­tinely col­lect infor­ma­tion directly from the task forces on the number and demo­graphic char­ac­ter­is­tics of per­sons engaged in severe forms of human traf­ficking, and pro­vide a reli­able net­work for law enforce­ment agen­cies, U.S. attor­neys’ offices and victim ser­vice providers.”

In order to develop the most effec­tive reporting system, McDe­vitt and Far­rell will con­vene an Advi­sory Board com­posed of prin­ciple staff mem­bers from the IRJ, the UI and the Polaris Project (inter­na­tional orga­ni­za­tion com­bating human traf­ficking), as well as rep­re­sen­ta­tives from human traf­ficking task forces nation­wide. These col­lab­o­ra­tors will assist and advise inves­ti­ga­tors in the design and imple­men­ta­tion of the HTRS program.

Starting in Jan­uary of 2008, data col­lec­tion will take place on a monthly basis IRJ and UI research staff will addi­tion­ally col­lect ret­ro­spec­tive infor­ma­tion on all human traf­ficking inci­dents, arrests, pros­e­cu­tions and incar­cer­a­tions that occurred in 2007 for inclu­sion in the leg­isla­tively man­dated 2008 report to Con­gress as required by the Traf­ficking and Vic­tims Pro­tec­tion Reau­tho­riza­tion Acts of 2005. The two insti­tu­tions will also pro­vide training and onsite tech­nical assis­tance throughout the course of the project to help task force agen­cies com­plete reporting into the HTRS. The final report will include rec­om­men­da­tions for poten­tial expan­sion of the pro­gram beyond task force agencies.

For more infor­ma­tion on The Insti­tute on Race and Jus­tice and the Human Traf­ficking Reporting System, please con­tact Renata Nyul at 617–373-7424 or at r.​nyul@​neu.​edu.

About North­eastern

Founded in 1898, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity is a pri­vate research uni­ver­sity located in the heart of Boston. North­eastern is a leader in inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research, urban engage­ment, and the inte­gra­tion of class­room learning with real-​​world expe­ri­ence. The university’s dis­tinc­tive coop­er­a­tive edu­ca­tion pro­gram, where stu­dents alter­nate semes­ters of full-​​time study with semes­ters of paid work in fields rel­e­vant to their pro­fes­sional inter­ests and major, is one of the largest and most inno­v­a­tive in the world. The Uni­ver­sity offers a com­pre­hen­sive range of under­grad­uate and grad­uate pro­grams leading to degrees through the doc­torate in six under­grad­uate col­leges, eight grad­uate schools, and two part-​​time divi­sions. For more infor­ma­tion, please visit www​.neu​.edu.