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Agency Records as a Method for Examining Human Trafficking

Methods of Criminology and Criminal Justice Research

ISBN: 978-1-78769-866-6, eISBN: 978-1-78769-865-9

Publication date: 26 August 2019


Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to examine the ways in which human trafficking has been measured through the use of agency record data.

Approach – The authors review the state of previous research on human trafficking using agency record data and the challenges that are important to consider when using agency records in the study of human trafficking.

Findings – Researchers have used agency records in a wide variety of ways to measure human trafficking victimization, perpetration, and patterns or case characteristics. Agency data provide unique contributions to understand human trafficking including the scope of the problem, predictors of victimization, and public perceptions of this crime. The authors describe the efforts to use agency records to estimate the prevalence of human trafficking in a statewide study.

Value – This chapter provides an overview of how agency records have been used in human trafficking research in recent years. Furthermore, this chapter includes a case study and methodological reflection on the use of agency records in a statewide human trafficking prevalence study. The authors conclude with a methodological reflection and considerations moving forward for future use of agency data in human trafficking research.



Anderson, V.R., Kulig, T.C. and Sullivan, C.J. (2019), "Agency Records as a Method for Examining Human Trafficking", Deflem, M. and Silva, D.M.D. (Ed.) Methods of Criminology and Criminal Justice Research (Sociology of Crime, Law and Deviance, Vol. 24), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 165-178.



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