Investigating Labor Trafficking: The Who and How

Investigating Labor Trafficking: The Who and How
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2024-03-12
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Investigating Labor Trafficking: The Who and How
Unit 2Transcript: Investigating Labor Trafficking: The Who and How
Unit 3Workbook: Investigating Labor Trafficking: The Who and How
Unit 4Recording: Investigating Labor Trafficking: The Who and How

Labor trafficking remains vastly underreported and prosecuted due to its hidden nature. While US citizens can be victims of human trafficking, migrants are highly susceptible to victimization due to risk factors. This presentation delves into the multifaceted issue of human trafficking, who are the key players, how and where it happens, barriers to reports, indicators to recognize, cases of victimization, and the resources and services available to assist in addressing these incidents and cases.

Leading the discussion is Jeff Bolettieri, an investigator for Hope for Justice (HFJ), an international non-profit organization working to bring an end to human trafficking. Prior to this role, he served as an investigator with the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office in New York and as the Executive Officer for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Specifics of this webinar include:

  • An overview of Hope for Justice, the four pillars the organization is established upon, the reach of their operations, the work it has done, and the assistance it provides to partners.
  • Facts and figures highlighting the prevalence of human trafficking and why law enforcement is having trouble dealing with this issue.
  • A rundown of vulnerabilities that put individuals at risk of being trafficked as it applies to US locals and migrants.
  • How the drug cartels are compounding their profits through human trafficking operations by exploiting migrants for illicit activities and controlling migration routes.
  • Differentiating between human smuggling and human trafficking.
  • An overview of the major Mexican cartels that are likewise involved in human trafficking and how drug cartels and human trafficking put Mexican cities at the top of most dangerous cities in the world.
  • A glimpse into the migration routes, and the long, perilous journeys and processes migrants from South America, Africa, and Asia go through in an attempt to enter the US.
  • Darien Gap: How this is a major transit point for those coming from South America and the exploitation and violence migrants experience here from the cartel.
  • The significant increase in Chinese migrants seeking asylum and the conundrum the individual goes through when this is refused by the US.
  • Barriers to reporting trafficking crimes include victims’ lack of awareness, fear of law enforcement, and survival necessities, compounded by the lack of adequate training to identify and respond to labor trafficking effectively.
  • Case examples that demonstrate…
    • How migrants fall victim to human trafficking, underscoring the dangers faced by those without work visas.
    • Severe abuses, including forced labor and inhumane living conditions by migrants.
    • How migrants are lured to the US with the promise of better lives only to experience abuse.
    • How HFJ can assist with surveillance, data gathering, and evidence collection to build a robust case for investigation and prosecution.
    • How investigation and arrests can be challenging due to the covert nature of trafficking and the victims’ fear of the traffickers preventing them from cooperating with authorities.
    • How US citizens can likewise be victims of labor trafficking in another country.
  • Signs that may indicate someone is being trafficked focusing on their behavior and appearance.
  • Living and working conditions that may indicate labor trafficking.
  • How addressing labor trafficking requires resources, training, inter-agency partnerships, public awareness of the signs, and cooperation with community members who have access to the trafficked individuals and their locations.
  • HFJ’s support ranges from investigating labor trafficking cases to providing referrals and financial assistance to support victims.

Questions from the webinar attendees are about:

  • Collaboration with Canadian officials and trafficking across the northern US border.
  • Impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on immigration.
  • Reporting suspected labor trafficking.
  • The role of “coyotes” in human trafficking.
  • Traffickers being referred to as “uncle” or “aunt”, and helping victims trafficked by family members.
  • Regions where labor trafficking is more prevalent.
  • Post-prosecution support for trafficking victims.
  • Assistance for US citizens trafficked in Mexico.
  • State-specific trafficking reporting systems and methodology to find trafficked labor.
  • How to disable the billion-dollar human trafficking industry


Other Webinars with these Presenters


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Audience Comments

  • “This was an excellent webinar and should be aired again. To your team and Hope For Justice: Outnumbered as far as resources to combat trafficking and the trauma associated with it……Continue Doing the Best You Can.”
  • “There was a lot of good information in the presentation.”
  • “This is information EVERYONE should be aware of – not just criminal justice professionals !!! Thank you Mr. Bolettieri for your presentation.”
  • “I loved this webinar and look forward to the other webinars in this series!!”
  • “This was a great webinar. I learned more information about the basics and resources that I just didn’t know.”
  • “Very sad and sobering facts but great information to help with awareness.”
  • “This has been one of the most informative trainings so far. The information was excellent, especially in how to report potential trafficking.”
  • “This was one of the best webinars that I have taken and I have taken a lot. The information presented was so valuable, I wish he can do it for a longer duration. I can’t wait for the other parts! Thank you!”
  • “That was one of the best webinars this year.”


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