The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is authorized to collect data on human trafficking, evaluate the impact of anti-trafficking programs, and conduct trafficking-related research pursuant to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and its subsequent reauthorizations, and the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014. The Office on Trafficking in Persons (OTIP) assessed state efforts to collect data on human trafficking and to assist victims of trafficking to inform the HHS Human Trafficking Data Collection Project. The project examines current data collection practices, data standards, and technologies used for human trafficking data collection for the purposes of understanding human trafficking victimization and service needs.
OTIP assessed whether a state had legislation mandating human trafficking data collection; whether there was a state plan to collect the data; and whether the state was mandated to provide direct services to victims of trafficking. As state leaders and organizations recognize the importance of data collection to inform strategies to reduce and prevent trafficking, a trend has emerged of states passing legislation designating an entity to collect trafficking data and/or an entity to monitor victim assistance activities. In the absence of legislation, some states have developed a strategic plan—typically initiated by the state attorneys general—to collect human trafficking data. Learn more about state data collection efforts.