Vagrants, vixens, and victims: exploring the limitations of human trafficking victim recognition criteria in texas
Major trends in scholarship claim that law enforcement’s ability to recognize trafficked victims is limited (Farrell et. Al; Stolz; Uy), and that the majority of trafficking prevention occurs at a state level. Contextually situated in one of the United States’ trafficking hot spots, Texas, this study determines some limits of state-led preventative efforts through an examination of minority victim identification criteria within current anti- trafficking trainings targeted at law enforcement and task forces. The disproportionate focus on sex trafficking, women, and girls is well documented in previous research as it results in frequent misidentification of non-normative victims. Thus, the study centralizes the importance of including populations considered ‘particularly vulnerable’ to human trafficking in trainings. Findings reveal that there is no attention given to LGBT individuals, Native American populations, and boys within anti- trafficking training curricula. By confirming the marginalization of some vulnerable populations in anti- trafficking trainings, future research and community policing efforts can use the findings to transform existing discussions about victim identification and comprehensive preventative strategies.