Human Trafficking Policy and Research Analyses Project, 2019-2024

Project Overview

This project will conduct research to answer questions identified by the Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF’s) Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation and Office on Trafficking in Persons (OTIP) that will inform the development of anti-trafficking strategies, policies, and programs to prevent and respond to human trafficking.

This project will include a variety of research and evaluation activities such as:

  • Designing and conducting original studies that will inform policy, best practices of programs and strategies to prevent and respond to human trafficking, and the development of new research priorities;
  • Identifying emerging policy and research questions or topics of special interest to ACF that can be addressed through research activities, such as literature reviews; convening and/or reviewing recommendations from various experts, stakeholders, and federal staff and initiating work based on those recommendations; and identifying sources of policy and data and conducting summaries, assessments, or secondary statistical analyses to answer questions of relevance; and
  • Preparation of written products, such as syntheses of research evidence to inform policy and practice; methodological and analytic research documents to advance human trafficking research and evaluation; and, translation of research findings and issues for policymakers and implementers of anti-trafficking programs.

Project Status

Work on the project began in October 2019. Several research topics and evaluation priorities were considered for the project. Two topics were selected for study in April 2020: (1) prevalence of human trafficking in the U.S. and (2) evaluation of OTIP’s Human Trafficking Youth Prevention Education (HTYPE) Demonstration Program Visit disclaimer page . Design of both studies are in progress.

The first study will include a focused prevalence inquiry of human trafficking in the U.S. The overarching goal of the study is to advance knowledge of promising methods for estimating human trafficking prevalence in the U.S. as called for in the President’s Executive Order Visit disclaimer page . Specifically, RTI will field test two estimation methods in at least one U.S. geographic area in at least one specific industry. This research will complement, and align with when possible, the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and the University of Georgia’s internationally focused initiative, the Prevalence Reduction Innovation Forum (PRIF). A rapid, comprehensive “state of the methods” review is underway. The results of the review will inform the study design including decisions regarding estimation methods, industry/industries, and geographic location(s) for field testing.

The second study will include a formative evaluation of the HTYPE Demonstration Program. The goal of the HTYPE Demonstration Program is to fund local educational agencies to develop and implement programs to prevent human trafficking victimization through the provision of skills-based human trafficking training and education for school staff and students as specified in the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2018. The goal of the evaluation is to assess whether the HTYPE demonstration programs are implemented as intended and the extent to which they produce expected outputs.

This work is being conducted through a contract to RTI International.

The point of contacts are Mary Mueggenborg and Kelly Jedd McKenzie.