HT-RADAR Summer Quarterly Meeting

The second HT-RADAR quarterly meeting on July 28 drew more than 40 researchers, data analysts, and other stakeholders such as survivors, victim services, law enforcement, prosecution, and educators. As a regional network and clearinghouse for human trafficking related research, HT-RADAR’s quarterly meetings are designed to encourage communication and collaboration across sectors to help meet research needs from the San Diego / Tijuana (SD/TJ) region. Agenda topics included a research need presentation by San Diego County’s Child Welfare Services, information about funding opportunities and upcoming conferences, and roundtable introductions and updates about current projects. Carolina Martin Ramos, Esq. was HT-RADAR’s second featured speaker. Ms. Martin Ramos shared information about Casa Cornelia Law Center’s pro bono Human Trafficking Program, which primarily focuses on labor trafficking cases in San Diego. While there continues to be a need for more research regarding sex trafficking and CSEC, there is an even greater lack of research about labor trafficking in the SD/TJ region locally and nationally. HT-RADAR’s next meeting will be on Friday, October 28.
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Research Highlights

Youth Involvement in the Sex Trade: A National Study

Rachel Swaner, PhD; Melissa Labriola, Michael Rempel, Allyson Walker, MSW; Joseph Spadafore

Over the past decade, federal, state, and local policymakers across the United States have devoted increasing attention to the plight of youth who are involved in the sex trade. Despite growing national attention, the ability of policymakers to design effective programs and strategies has been hindered by a paucity of valid research on the size, needs, characteristics, and criminal justice experiences of these youth (e.g., see Institute of Medicine 2013).

Funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the U.S. Department of Justice, the current multi-method, multi-site study aims to increase scientific knowledge. Building on prior research using comparable methods in New York City and implemented by some of the same researchers (Curtis et al. 2008; Muslim, Labriola, and Rempel 2008; and see, also, Dank et al. 2015), this study includes interviews with youth and official records data collection in six sites: Atlantic City, NJ; the Bay Area, CA; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Miami, FL; and Las Vegas, NV.

To date, the study has produced six reports providing comprehensive ethnographic findings concerning the lives of youth in the sex trade in each of the research sites (Jones and Gamson 2016; Marcus, Riggs, Rivera, and Curtis 2016; Martin et al. 2016; Maurrasse and Jones 2016; Schaffner et al. 2016; and Wagner, Whitmer, and Spivak 2016). The current report provides a quantitative, multi-site analysis of findings from nearly 1,000 youth interviews across all six sites; a population estimate; findings from official criminal justice data sources; and findings from interviews with service providers.

Swaner, R., Labriola, M., Rempel, M., Walker, A., Spadafore, J. (2016). Youth involvement in the sex trade: A national study. New York, NY: Center for Court Innovation.
Rachel Swaner, PhD, is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Administration at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service. She is an Associate Director of Research focusing on justice issues related to children and youth at the Center for Court Innovation and the Research Coordinator for a national portrait study of the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Dr. Swaner is also currently the Project Director of the multi-site evaluation of the Defending Childhood Initiative, the U.S. Attorney General's multi-site initiative to address children's exposure to violence. 

Characterization of contact offenders and child exploitation material trafficking on five peer-to-peer networks

George Bissias, PhD; Brian Levine, PhD; Marc Liberatore, PhD; Brian Lynn, PhD; Juston Moore, Hanna Wallach, PhD; Janis Wolak, JD

We provide detailed measurement of the illegal trade in child exploitation material (CEM, also known as child pornography) from mid-2011 through 2014 on five popular peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing networks. We characterize several observations: counts of peers trafficking in CEM; the proportion of arrested traffickers that were identified during the investigation as committing contact sexual offenses against children; trends in the trafficking of sexual images of sadistic acts and infants or toddlers; the relationship between such content and contact offenders; and survival rates of CEM. In the 5 P2P networks we examined, we estimate there were recently about 840,000 unique installations per month of P2P programs sharing CEM worldwide. We estimate that about 3 in 10,000 Internet users worldwide were sharing CEM in a given month; rates vary per country. We found an overall month-to-month decline in trafficking of CEM during our study. By surveying law enforcement we determined that 9.5% of persons arrested for P2P-based CEM trafficking on the studied networks were identified during the investigation as having sexually offended against children offline. Rates per network varied, ranging from 8% of arrests for CEM trafficking on Gnutella to 21% on BitTorrent. Within BitTorrent, where law enforcement applied their own measure of content severity, the rate of contact offenses among peers sharing the most-severe CEM (29%) was higher than those sharing the least-severe CEM (15%). Although the persistence of CEM on the networks varied, it generally survived for long periods of time; e.g., BitTorrent CEM had a survival rate near 100%.   
Bissias, G., Levine, B., Liberatore, M., Lynn, B., Moore, J., et al. (2016). Characterization of contact offenders and child exploitation material trafficking on five peer-to-peer networks. Child Abuse & Neglect, 52, 185-199.
George Bissias, PhD, is a Research Scientist for the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dr. Bissias’ current research focuses on using statistical inference to measure user participation in p2p networks, development and deployment of DpComp, a benchmark suite for deferentially private algorithms, and investigation of techniques for improving the security and scalability of Bitcoin.

After Rescue: Evaluation of Strategies to Stabilize and Integrate Adult Survivors of Human Trafficking to the United States

Elżbieta Goździak, PhD & B. Lindsay Lowell, PhD

Human trafficking for forced labor, domestic servitude, and sexual exploitation is a transnational crime whose victims include men, women, and children. In the United States, trafficking in persons became a focus of activities in the late 1990s and culminated in the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), which was signed into law in 2000. Despite the increased interest in human trafficking, there is little systematic and methodologically rigorous empirical research. Notably absent are studies of adult foreign-born trafficked victims who are identified and, as survivors, provided services to facilitate their reintegration into the wider society.

This project examines comprehensive case management services provided to foreign-born adults survivors of trafficking from 2006 to 2011. These programs were funded by the Anti-Trafficking in Persons (ATIP) Program of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) under the Per Capita Reimbursement Contract administered by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The USCCB was also in charge of providing training and technical assistance to the programs serving survivors of human trafficking. This report provides a summary of the analysis of data collected by USCCB and augmented by field research with selected number of programs. The objective of this mixed-methods study was to better understand the characteristics of trafficking survivors and the efficacy of interventions in stabilizing their well-being.

Goździak, E. & Lowell, B.L. (2016). After rescue: Evaluation of strategies to stabilize and integrate adult survivors of human trafficking to the United States. Washington D.C.: Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown University.
Elżbieta Goździak, PhD, is Research Professor at the Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM) at Georgetown University. Dr. Goździak published several articles on research on human trafficking and on child victims of trafficking for labor and sexual exploitation. She also edited (with Frank Laczko) a special issue of International Migration on Improving Data and Research on Human Trafficking. Her book on Trafficked Children and Adolescents in the United States: Reimagining Survivors will be published by Rutgers University Press in the spring of 2016.

B. Lindsay Lowell, PhD, is Director of Policy Studies at the Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown University. He was previously Director of Research at the Congressionally appointed Commission on Immigration Reform. Dr. Lowell has written over 150 articles and reports on his research interests in immigration policy, labor force, Mexico-US migration, education and the mobility of the highly skilled.

Exploring the Context of Trafficking and Adolescent Sex Industry Involvement in Tijuana, Mexico: Consequences for HIV Risk and Prevention 

Shira M. Goldenberg, PhD; Jay G. Silverman, PhD; David Engstrom, PhD;
letza Bojorquez-Chapela, MD, PhD; Paula Usita, PhD; Maria Luisa Rolón, MD; and Steffanie A. Strathdee, PhD

Coerced and adolescent sex industry involvement are linked to serious health and social consequences, including enhanced risk of HIV infection. Using ethnographic fieldwork, including interviews with 30 female sex workers with a history of coerced or adolescent sex industry involvement, we describe contextual factors influencing vulnerability to coerced and adolescent sex industry entry and their impacts on HIV risk and prevention. Early gender-based violence and economic vulnerability perpetuated vulnerability to coercion and adolescent sex exchange, while HIV risk mitigation capacities improved with increased age, control over working conditions, and experience. Structural interventions addressing gender-based violence, economic factors, and HIV prevention among all females who exchange sex are needed.

Goldenberg, S., Silverman, J., Engstrom, D., Bojorquez-Chapela, I., Usita, P., et al. (2015). Exploring the context of trafficking and adolescent sex industry involvement in Tijuana, Mexico. Violence Against Women, 21(4), 478-499.        
Shira Goldenberg, PhD, is a Research Scientist with the Gender & Sexual Health Initiative of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and an Assistant Professor in the Simon Fraser University Faculty of Health Sciences. Her research aims to improve sexual health and access to healthcare for marginalized populations, including migrants, sex workers, and women living with HIV in Canada, Latin America, and other international settings.

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San Diego News Highlights

Ads to Warn of 'Ugly Truth' of Human Trafficking

SAN DIEGO – County officials announced the launch of a campaign intended to educate the public about sex trafficking and child exploitation.  Dubbed “The Ugly Truth,” the campaign will use billboards, radio spots, videos played in elevators and at health clubs and posters displayed at bus shelters and on trolleys. It’s expected to run about three months. (From the San Diego Union Tribune; view full article here by Dana Littlefield.)

Assembly Bill 1708 Passes Senate Committee

SACRAMENTO – Human trafficking legislation by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) that would increase penalties for those attempting to purchase sex was approved by the Senate Public Safety Committee on a bipartisan 6-0 vote. (From Assemblywoman Gonzalez’s Press Releases; view full article here.) 

Senate Committee Approves Farmworker Overtime Bill

SACRAMENTO – Legislation by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to establish equitable overtime standards for farmworkers in line with other Californians was approved on a 4-1 vote by the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee today. Assembly Bill 1066 continues the effort begun earlier in 2016 by Gonzalez via AB 2757 and will next be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee in August. (From Assemblywoman Gonzalez’s Press Releases; view full article here.)  

Assembly Bills 1730 & 1731 Passes State Assembly

SACRAMENTO – The state Assembly today passed two bills authored by Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins that fight human trafficking. AB 1730 would create a pilot program to provide temporary housing for commercially sexually exploited children, along with specific mental-health services that address the unique type of trauma these kids have endured. The bill passed by a vote of 65 to 0.

AB 1731 would establish the California Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking, which would include representatives from law enforcement, social services, child welfare, public health, and the court system. The task force’s goal is to gather statewide data so that the state can allocate sufficient resources to address the crime. The bill passed by a vote of 68 to 0. (From Assemblywoman Atkins’ Press Releases; view full article here.) 

Funding Opportunities & Conferences

Funding Opportunities

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Advisory Council
& HT-RADAR Overview

San Diego County Regional Human Trafficking
& CSEC Advisory Council

The San Diego County Regional Human Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Advisory Council has become a leader in San Diego County’s anti-trafficking work since its establishment in 2011 by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. The Advisory Council was created to ‘compliment' the work of existing agencies and collaborative groups; it was intended, “…to serve as a catalyst toward comprehensive, systemic change addressing human trafficking and CSEC at a county-wide, interdisciplinary level” (San Diego County Regional Human Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Advisory Council. San Diego County Board of Supervisors. Action Statement. 2011). Below is the Advisory Council's current structure. To learn more about the Advisory Council, please review the San Diego County Regional Human Trafficking & CSEC Advisory Council 2014 Report.


HT-RADAR is an independent, collaborative research environment for SD/TJ region data analysts and researchers who have skills and interests related to human trafficking.  HT-RADAR was launched by Dr. Jamie Gates from Point Loma Nazarene University's Center for Justice and Reconciliation (PLNU/CJR) and is now evolving into a professional network with the following aims:
  • To plan strategically across disciplines and universities;
  • To share data and data sources;
  • To increase research funding for participating members;
  • To impact decision-making in the region with quality research related to human trafficking;
  • To implement ongoing research (i.e. descriptive, exploratory, and outcome) related to victims, perpetrators, and consumers of human trafficking (including sex and labor trafficking).
In order to accomplish these aims, PLNU/CJR operates a centralized clearinghouse for human trafficking related research in the SD/TJ region by:
  • Aggregating regional human trafficking related research;
  • Convening and facilitating collaboration between human trafficking data analysts and researchers working in the region;
  • Facilitating the networking between practitioners, data analysts, and researchers;
  • Identifying potential human trafficking research funding for researchers studying human trafficking in the region;
  • Improving public knowledge of the results of research related to human trafficking across multiple disciplines and sections through regular
    • research updates, and
    • an annual research conference.
Copyright © 2016 Center for Justice & Reconciliation at Point Loma Nazarene University.
All rights reserved.

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