Human trafficking: 6 solutions that are working

3. Joint police-NGO task forces

Mark Trumbull/The Christian Science Monitor
Megan Bruneau (left), a detective with the Seattle Police Department, drives through Seattle while on duty with Jennifer Williams (right), special agent with arm of the Department of Homeland Security. The two work as an investigative team as part of a regional task force on human trafficking.

A small antitrafficking team in Seattle is ​showing how legal action can be an effective tool in fighting forced labor when detectives, prosecutors, and social workers learn to collaborate.

In its first decade of operations, the task force investigated more than 140 cases of potential human trafficking and prosecuted 60 of those. Given the difficulty of bringing such cases, this is well above average for a prosecutorial district. In September, Attorney General Loretta Lynch called the task force an “extraordinary partnership.”  

Experts say the force’s success stems from its ability to bridge the worlds of nongovernment organizations and diverse law enforcement agencies. Where antitrafficking efforts in some other cities have broken down, the members of this team “have come back to the table” after setbacks, says Kirsten Foot, the author of “Collaborating Against Human Trafficking.”

Read the series: Why Seattle is scoring victories against labor traffickers

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