Best Practice: Responding to Human Trafficking Victims within ICJ

Please note, this document is not a policy or procedure, but simply a reference to assist states when dealing with this type of case, and can not be used as a reason to reject a case.

Despite increasing attention to the issue of human trafficking, knowledge and understanding about how best to serve victims moving through ICJ remains limited. This document provides  states with guidelines and recommendations for processing returns of human trafficking victims.

First responders who discover a victim of human trafficking have an obligation to take action to ensure the victim’s safety. The coordinated efforts of service providers, local and federal law enforcement, victim service providers, and others are needed to combat human trafficking.

The following are recommendations to assist states; however, compact offices should also be aware of or develop their own protocols for assuring safety and providing service to identified victims:

  1. Assess the victim’s immediate safety concerns and any immediate needs.
  2. Determine what, if any, safe harbor laws are in effect in your state and identify your state’s policies, procedures and safe harbor laws concerning treatment of victims and determine if the juvenile will be held in detention, a shelter or a secure facility.
  3. Educate the victim about their rights, protections, and available services.
  4. Consult your agency attorney and engage law enforcement. Local law enforcement agencies may act as the intermediary and notify federal law enforcement.
  5. Collaborate, when necessary, with other agencies to ensure the victim is connected to services.
  6. Develop protocols for processing cases of human trafficking victims identified, held and returned through ICJ.


Best Practices Date