New Audio Available for Media Use: How to Combat Human Trafficking in America


Ashley Smith
Public Affairs Coordinator

New Audio Available for Media Use: How to Combat Human Trafficking in America

BALTIMORE, MD, June 6,  2022 – New audio is available for media use featuring Kayse Lee Maass. She is an Assistant Professor in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Northeastern University. She talks about how to combat human trafficking in America. This content is made available by INFORMS, the largest association for the decision and data sciences. All sound should be attributed to Kayse Lee Maass. There are 4 questions and responses. These responses were provided on June 2, 2022:



Question 1: How vast is the problem of human trafficking in the United States?

Time Cue: 0:23, Soundbite Duration: :36

“Human trafficking is increasingly recognized as a pressing human rights issue worldwide, including in the United States. However, precise and accurate estimates of how prevalent human trafficking is are difficult to obtain for many reasons, including the fact that human trafficking is an illicit crime, that there is a lack of standard methods for reporting trafficking cases, and that inconsistent definitions and interpretations of what constitutes human trafficking persist. What IS clear is that human trafficking has been documented in a vast array of labor sectors within the United States, including the agricultural, construction, hospitality, entertainment, and beauty industries.”



Question 2: How would you describe the most common victims of human trafficking in the United States and the reasons for the trafficking activity?

Time Cue: 01:08, Soundbite Duration: 0:37

”There is no one profile of what a trafficking victim or survivor looks like. Human trafficking victims include people of all gender identities, citizenship status, ages, and abilities, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is equally vulnerable to being exploited. Structural inequalities contribute to the reality that it is more difficult [for some people to access support services and provide for their basic needs] than it is for others. This is where traffickers come in. Traffickers often take advantage of people in precarious and desperate situations by offering to fulfil a person’s unmet needs. They may do this by promising a place to sleep, food, clothing, a job, a sense of belonging, or even love and affection.”



Question 3: What measures are being taken to combat human trafficking in America?

Time Cue: 01:58, Soundbite Duration: :34

“Efforts to combat human trafficking in the United States predominantly frame human trafficking as a law enforcement and criminal justice issue. However, few labor trafficking operations have been dismantled by law enforcement and even fewer traffickers have been held accountable through federal prosecution. In light of this, there is a growing awareness that public health, human rights, and systems-based approaches provide a valuable complementary viewpoint. These approaches focus on how human trafficking is interconnected with other societal issues, such as homelessness, the child welfare system, racism, immigration, and fair working conditions.”



Question 4: What approach should policymakers and other leaders take to better and more effectively combat human trafficking in America?

Time Cue: 02:40, Soundbite Duration: 1:01 

“To more effectively combat human trafficking, we must expand our focus from primarily a criminal justice approach to a systems-based, public health approach. This reframing would allow us to address human trafficking more holistically by including efforts to prevent trafficking at its root causes, disrupt ongoing trafficking operations, and provide support for victims and survivors after their trafficking situation.  This will require improving coordination and collaboration within government agencies and among organizations that serve trafficking survivors. As new policies are brought forth, it is imperative that decision makers think deeply about the unintended harms such policies may have, including how it may unintentionally displace trafficking from one area to another or how it may further marginalize certain groups of people while improving conditions for others. In all of this, it is critical that we incorporate survivor expertise. Therefore, we need to increase paid opportunities for human trafficking survivors to meaningfully serve in anti-human trafficking leadership and decision-making roles.”


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With more than 12,000 members from around the world, INFORMS is the largest association for the decision and data sciences, made up of professionals and students. INFORMS members support organizations and governments at all levels as they work to transform data into information, and information into insights that lead to more efficient, effective, equitable and impactful results.