BOSTON – October 2, 2008 – The Bureau of Jus­tice Sta­tis­tics (BJS) has just extended funding for the national human traf­ficking reporting system (HTRS), an ini­tia­tive led by Amy Far­rell, Ph.D. and Jack McDe­vitt, Ph.D., both from North­eastern University’s Insti­tute on Race & Jus­tice. The funding, a $300,000 grant, will allow for the con­tin­u­a­tion and expan­sion of the HTRS, estab­lished in Jan­uary 2008 by researchers at both North­eastern and the Urban Insti­tute as a way to cen­trally and uni­formly col­lect data on human traf­ficking investigations.

In recent years, the United States fed­eral gov­ern­ment has worked to create aware­ness of human traf­ficking throughout the country. In 2000, when the Vic­tims of Traf­ficking and Vio­lence Pro­tec­tion Act was passed, it pro­vided, for the first time, pro­tec­tion to vic­tims of human traf­ficking and a process to pros­e­cute offenders. This law pro­vided funding for the 42 multi-​​agency human traf­ficking task forces, made up of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from fed­eral, state and local law enforce­ment and other indus­tries, to iden­tify and inves­ti­gate cases of human traf­ficking. At the time, how­ever, there was no system in place to com­pile the data and mon­itor the impact of these ini­tia­tives over time.

In response, the Bureau of Jus­tice Sta­tis­tics pro­vided funding for North­eastern University’s Insti­tute on Race and Jus­tice and the Urban Insti­tute to develop a national human traf­ficking reporting system (HTRS), a web-​​based tool that allows users to input data for cases of human traf­ficking and update the file as the case pro­gresses. The HTRS allows for the uni­form col­lec­tion of data by federally-​​funded task force mem­bers and cen­trally tracks the infor­ma­tion. This case-​​management system allows task force mem­bers to update infor­ma­tion about each case as it pro­gresses from the inves­ti­ga­tion to the arrest, pros­e­cu­tion and sentencing.

This funding will pro­vide the nec­es­sary resources to more accu­rately assess human traf­ficking cases across the country and expand the pro­grams where it would be most ben­e­fi­cial,” said Amy Far­rell, Assis­tant Pro­fessor in the Col­lege of Crim­inal Jus­tice at Northeastern.

Prior to the HTRS launch, researchers at both North­eastern and the Urban Insti­tute com­piled infor­ma­tion on human traf­ficking cases as reported by national task forces in 2007. This data was then entered into the HTRS and is avail­able for updates. More than 95 per­cent of the fed­eral task forces have reported infor­ma­tion on a reg­ular basis into the HTRS, and to date infor­ma­tion on 413 human traf­ficking inves­ti­ga­tions from 2007 and 365 from 2008 have been collected.

The HTRS is a reli­able resource that has enabled us to pro­vide accu­rate and timely infor­ma­tion to the Depart­ment of Jus­tice so that they can con­tinue to mon­itor the progress of the ini­tia­tives in place to combat human traf­ficking,” added Jack McDe­vitt, Asso­ciate Dean of the Col­lege of Crim­inal Jus­tice and Director of the Insti­tute on Race and Justice.

The objec­tives of the project expan­sion include enhancing the cur­rent data col­lec­tion process to pro­vide accu­rate and usable data when reporting to the BJS, more reg­ular reporting to the BJS, working with cur­rent task forces to ensure timely reporting, pro­viding tech­nical assis­tance to users and, per­haps, expanding the system to non-​​task forces law enforce­ment agencies.

For more infor­ma­tion about the HTRS, please visit http://​www​.humantraf​ficking​.neu​.edu/ or con­tact Jenny Eriksen at (617) 373‑2802 or via email at j.​eriksen@​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​.north​eastern​.edu.