PROJECTHuman Trafficking Research Portfolio

Human trafficking is not a problem of the past. In fact, we're just beginning to grasp the extent of human trafficking and the forms it takes, from the commercial sex trade to domestic servitude to child trafficking to sweatshops.

Using quantitative and qualitative approaches and working with major players in human trafficking research and regulation, the Urban Institute provides new insight into this complicated and nuanced issue. Our research seeks to better understand and describe the forces that drive trafficking and the effect it has on everyone involved. Our research has informed policy and practice, and we continue to publish groundbreaking studies shedding light on the lives of trafficking victims and the people who prey on them. 

Antitrafficking Task Forces

Sex Trafficking

Labor Trafficking

International Human Trafficking

Monitoring Human Trafficking

Urban researchers have been asked to help design or evaluate monitoring programs for the federal government. Though these efforts did not produce public research, they did contribute substantially to efforts to end human trafficking. 

Projects in Progress

NIJ-funded Evaluation of the Outcomes for Human Trafficking Survivors (OHTS) Instrument
To respond to the critical need for a reliable evidence-based instrument to assess outcomes for human trafficking survivors that receive services, the Urban Institute is partnering with NORC at the University of Chicago to implement a multi-method study to: 1) conduct process and outcome evaluations of human trafficking services provided by three diverse victim service provider partners, relying on the Outcomes for Human Trafficking Survivors (OHTS) Instrument, and 2) conduct an inter-rater reliability assessment of OHTS, relying on victim service provider case managers and the survivors that they serve, to begin to build an evidence-base of the OHTS instrument.

The research will test the OHTS instrument in real world settings to determine whether the tool can be successfully implemented within diverse human trafficking service organizations, including those who work with survivors of sex trafficking and labor trafficking, as well as domestic and foreign-born survivors. 

Research Areas Crime, justice, and safety
Policy Centers Justice Policy Center