On June 10th the Vera Institute of Justice released the first ever validated tool to identify victims of Human Trafficking, called “Out of the Shadows”. This tool was created and tested over several years through collaboration with 11 victim services organizations in New York, California, Colorado, Texas, and Washington state and seeks to make identifying victims easier.
From the Vera Website:
The landmark Trafficking Victims Protection Act made trafficking in persons a federal crime in 2000, but the greatest obstacle to rescuing victims of human trafficking is identifying them. To make identifying these people easier—and subsequently, getting them the services and support they need while also generating evidence against their traffickers—Vera created a screening tool to be used by victim service providers and law enforcement when faced with someone who may be a victim of human trafficking. The tool, a 30-topic questionnaire that was tested by service providers and validated by Vera researchers, is the result of a two-year study funded by the National Institute of Justice.
The tool is both reliable and valid, allowing the user to not only distinguish victims of trafficking from those of other crimes, but also tell the difference between victims of labor trafficking and those of sex trafficking. In addition to a long and short version of the tool, Vera also released an extensive users guide that walks the user through pre interview steps, frequently asked questions about the tool, interview considerations, tool use, post interview assessment, and further opportunities for training and education.
For the research summary, full report, and access to the tools and users guide please visit the following website:
Hopefully this tool can indeed fill the gap that currently limits our ability to identify victims of human trafficking and make it easier to identify and support those at risk.
Written By Georgianna Dolan-Reilly, LMSW