New Screening Tool Will Help Identify Victims of Human Trafficking

The Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) has released a screening tool, the Trafficking Victim Identification Tool (TVIT), to help law enforcement officers and other social service providers identify adult and child victims of human trafficking. The tool is composed of a 30-topic questionnaire designed to reveal instances of human trafficking in the context of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Vera developed the tool after completing an intensivetwo-year study on improving methods of identifying victims of human trafficking. Identification of victims is one of the biggest obstacles to helping trafficked women and girls.

The questions in the screening tool focus on migration, country of origin, reason for moving, fraud, coercion, unfair labor practices, sexual exploitation, isolation, and physical harm and violence. The questionnaire, in a long and short form, is disseminated along with information for service providers about how best to use the screening tool and how to foster a relationship of trust and understanding with potential victims of human trafficking.

According to Vera, each of the questions is a statistically significant predictor of human trafficking. Although more research should be done on the effectiveness of the tool in identifying victims of trafficking who are not foreign born, Vera hopes the tool will help law enforcement officers and service providers more easily identify victims of human trafficking and enable victims to receive appropriate help and services.

Compiled from: Simich, Laura, Out of the Shadows: A Tool for the Identification of Victims of Human Trafficking, Vera Institute of Justice (June, 2014); Vera Institute of Justice,Screening for Human Trafficking: Guidelines for Administering the Trafficking Victim Identification Tool (TVIT) (June, 2014).