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Law Enforcement Response to Human Trafficking

POST Guidelines 2008

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The POST Guidelines on Law Enforcement Response to Human Trafficking is presented in a format that will allow the reader to follow a systematic process for conducting a human trafficking investigation. Human trafficking is one of the most horrific crimes committed in our society today. Human traffickers prey on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of society. They often lure victims by promising legitimate jobs the victims need to support their families. Instead, victims are devastated to learn they have been sold or trapped into a form of slavery such as forced prostitution, domestic servitude, sweatshop labor, and other debt bondage. In other words, human beings are being bought and sold repeatedly for profit.

POST encourages the sharing of this information with all law enforcement personnel who may serve as liaison between human trafficking victims and the criminal justice system.

The nature of human trafficking makes it critical for law enforcement to understand the dynamics, indicators, and manifestations of its occurrence. Responding officers need to possess the skills and sensitivity necessary to provide the support that victims need to regain their lives.

Specifically, these guidelines address the following:
  • Laws
  • Scope of the Problem
  • Smuggling versus Trafficking
  • Dynamics
  • Manifestations
  • Indicators
  • Initial Officer Responsibilities
  • Identification, Assessment, and Communication
  • Victim Dynamics
  • Appropriate Interviewing Techniques
  • Community Resources and Referrals
  • Required Victim Notifications
  • Types of Evidence
  • Case Development
  • Federal Agencies
  • Requirements of Penal Code 236.2
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