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Human Trafficking Investigations

Human Trafficking Investigations

FBI human trafficking investigations are conducted by agents within the human trafficking program and members of our federal human trafficking task forces, and every one of our 56 field offices has worked investigations pertaining to human trafficking. Often, investigations involving human trafficking come to the attention of field offices and task forces through:

  • Citizen complaints;
  • The National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline;
  • A referral from a law enforcement agency;
  • A referral from non-government organizations (NGOs);
  • Proactive victim recovery operations; and
  • Outreach to state government and community entities.


During the stages of a human trafficking investigation, the primary goal of investigators is the recovery of victims in order to remove them from an environment of violence and exploitation. Program representatives work in unison with victim advocates and NGOs, who are able to provide victims of human trafficking with the short-term resources (shelter, food, clothing) and long-term resources (counseling, education assistance, job training) they require during the road to recovery. After recovering a victim of human trafficking, field offices are then able to conduct logical, efficient, and effective investigations which lead to the eventual arrest and successful prosecution of their traffickers, as well as the potential recovery of additional victims and identification of other traffickers.

The Bureau’s human trafficking program has also successfully used lawful, sophisticated techniques— such as undercover investigations and Title III wire intercepts—to take down trafficking organizations, recover victims, and intercept traffickers before they are able to victimize others.

Over the past decade, the FBI’s human trafficking investigations have been responsible for the arrest of more than 2,000 traffickers and the recovery of numerous victims. The FBI will continue to take part in multi-agency efforts to combat the threat; provide outreach to law enforcement and community organizations to aid in the awareness of the threat, proper investigative techniques, and identification of trafficking victims; and train international entities on how to identify victims of trafficking so that the Bureau and other law enforcement can intercept them before they are victimized by traffickers in the U.S.

For more information go to https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/civil-rights/human-trafficking