When the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) decided to host a national conference on the role of police departments and sheriff ’s offices in preventing and investigating human trafficking, we knew that it was imperative to have a diverse group of participants in the room. As awareness of human trafficking has grown in recent years, law enforcement agencies are increasingly expected to understand the different types of trafficking crimes, the warning signs when trafficking is occurring, and overall trends. While many agencies now provide basic training on human trafficking to officers, there is a lack of in-depth understanding of the topic, especially as it relates to assisting victims.
So PERF made sure that in addition to having police chiefs, sheriffs, and other law enforcement executives at the conference, we also had prosecutors, victim advocates, researchers, and representatives of various nonprofits and other non-governmental organizations in attendance. Collaboration is the key to success in combating human trafficking, and this meeting benefited from having a range of stakeholders contribute to the discussion.
Approximately 200 participants from all areas of the anti-trafficking field convened in Washington, D.C., on August 5, 2019 for this Critical Issues in Policing conference. (Registered participants at the meeting are listed on page 60.) Several said they had never participated in a human trafficking discussion involving people from so many different disciplines. This broad collection of stakeholders contributed to a robust discussion, and ultimately enabled the group to find important areas of agreement.
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