Law enforcement investigations can be broken down into two categories, “reactive” and “pro-active” investigations. Generally, law enforcement, throughout the country investigates crimes in a “reactive” nature. That is, a complaint is made by a citizen and the police respond and start the investigation. This is an everyday occurrence and will never change. Law enforcement is charged with the responsibility of protecting the public and responding to incidents and crimes in progress when they occur.
With regard to human trafficking, many of the cases are dealt with in a “reactive” manner. Victims may report the crime or a witness may bring forth information regarding a possible human trafficking crime. In many instances, law enforcement may learn of a human trafficking crime while responding to other complaints, such as a domestic violence call.
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Law enforcement’s best avenue to combat and diminish the threat of human trafficking, is to work the criminal threat in a “proactive” approach when possible. That is, law enforcement agencies should attempt to work the investigation in a covert manner as long as possible to get to the core organizational structure of the group being investigated. Many criminal enterprise organizations are investigated in this manner. Human trafficking organizations should be no different.