After the Webinar: How to Investigate Human Trafficking Step by Step. Q&A with the Presenters

Webinar Presenters Bill Loucks and Jeff Bolettieri answered a number of your questions after their presentation, How to Investigate Human Trafficking Step by Step. Here are just a few of their responses.


Audience Question: You just talked a lot about human trafficking and sex trafficking, How is the investigative process different between these two crimes? Is it different for labor trafficking in terms of the investigative process? 

Bill Loucks: We’re going to tie into Department of Labor resources at that point in time. We’re going to look at a lot of financials on the back side with that. So, Department of Labor. Labor trafficking investigations are a little more complex, but we do need them as an added layer, especially with, labor laws, so we are getting them involved. So, we’re going to take an added step with that. When it comes time to maybe time to do a takedown and shut a business or a location down, evaluate if we do have enough resources. A lot of intel that is gathered to figure out how many people we may be displacing from a job or something like that. Unlike sex trafficking, we’re taking somebody offline right there. In a labor trafficking case, 99% of these individuals will be going back to a house or something, unless they are working and living at the same location.


Audience Question: What are the best ways that crime analysts can help in these investigations? 

Jeff Bolettieri: So, you know, crime analysts, OSINT or open-source intelligence, is huge right now. Everybody shares their information on social media platforms. Governments have gone to websites, where you can just look up a ton of information.

It’s just, if you are proficient in OSINT and you also have regulated databases, it’s tremendous. so, there are a number of organizations that I know do that. They have streamlined the OSINT process, for instance, like Scope Now, or Shadow Dragon, which can become costly. We don’t have the luxury of having one of those sites. We do everything ourselves. And it takes us probably 10 times the amount of time. If we did have a crime analyst, it would be awesome for us, because it would save us a lot of time and we could spend more time with the rescue of victims and them, just the actual investigations.


Audience Question: Sandra wanted to know how these processes or steps change — or how are they altered — when you identify a minor is a trafficked person?

Bill Loucks: When it comes to the minor side for us, we’re not going to deal with a minor on our side. We have some mandatory reporting. So, we’re going to report that immediately to law enforcement. That will become tricky when it comes to the victim’s need for short-term or long-term placement. Like if it’s a mother and a child or something like that, then it becomes extremely tricky at that point in time for that. So, it’s a little bit more in-depth investigative process with a juvenile.

Jeff Bolettieri: Yeah. So, most states, at least here in North Carolina, have mandatory reporting requirements. So, we immediately passed that to law enforcement.


Audience Question: You talked about how human trafficking victims often return up to seven times back to the trafficker before they get all the way out of the situation. Why is that? 

Bill Loucks: Some of that goes into victimization, it’s trauma bonding, it’s like Stockholm syndrome, over a period of time for you to actually survive, you actually have to build a bond with your trafficker, or your abuser. So, it goes back to both of those things and to understand that you have to do a deep dive into victimization and go through a lot of victim-centered training on that.


Click Here to Watch a Recording of How to Investigate Human Trafficking Step by Step. 


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