is known about how traffickers, exploiters, and purchasers interact with law enforcement and the adult criminal justice system. Since law enforcement often is the first point of contact with the legal system for the victims, survivors, and offenders of commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking, the chapter includes noteworthy examples of current law enforcement practices and describes existing challenges and opportunities. The chapter concludes with the committee’s findings and conclusions about the role of law enforcement in preventing, identifying, and responding to commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors in the United States.
This chapter should be read with some caveats in mind. First, several of the studies, reports, and efforts cited in this chapter (Clawson et al., 2006; Farrell et al., 2008, 2012) describe law enforcement responses to human trafficking broadly, and are not specific to commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors. Second, while this chapter describes a range of law enforcement task force models and activities, it should be noted that participation in task forces is only one way for law enforcement agencies to address human trafficking. Finally, multisector and interagency task forces are covered in greater detail in Chapter 10.
CURRENT LAW ENFORCEMENT PRACTICES WITH VICTIMS
Law enforcement personnel often are the first to respond to commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking cases. Their knowledge and ability to identify victims, investigate cases, and make appropriate referrals is crucial to the development of an overall response to commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors in the United States. Law enforcement personnel at all levels—local, county, state, and federal—may encounter these cases and need to be prepared to respond appropriately.
Federal Law Enforcement Practices
Although only 9 percent of law enforcement agencies in the United States operate at the federal level, a considerable amount of activity related to the commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors takes place at this level. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), for example, responds to commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors in several ways. Three significant areas of FBI activity are described briefly in the subsections that follow: the Innocent Images National Initiative Unit, the Crimes Against Children Unit, and the Innocence Lost National Initiative.