Human Trafficking Legislation and Reporting

Human trafficking is a critical global problem that requires special attention. Hence, this is especially true of legislation and reporting cases of this kind of violation of the law. The danger of human trafficking is that it is a violation of basic human rights due to the fact that its victims are subjected to psychological and physical violence and experience a large number of inconveniences and unfavorable and terrible conditions. These points necessitate the study of this topic by various scientists. This helps to spread awareness and increase attention to the problem under discussion. Thus, this literature review aims to study the current state of the literature on the topic of human trafficking legislation and reporting.

At this stage of society’s development, the problem of human trafficking poses a threat to society, which particularly affects the more vulnerable parts of the population and minorities. The problem under investigation implies “a multidimensional human rights violation that centers on the act of exploitation” (Zimmerman & Kiss, 2017, p. 2). Farrell et al. (2019a) note that “all states have passed laws that criminalize acts of human trafficking, though with significant variation in the penalty structure and associated legal provisions” (p. 175). This fact shows that the country is not just trying to recognize the threat to human rights but also sets itself the goal of exterminating the negative consequences that it can lead to. Often, this issue is hidden under migration processes, when people with low incomes decide to leave the country to earn money. However, as noted in the sources, such mobility is fraught with the emergence of labor exploitation of migrants. In the literature, the term “modern slavery” is often traced which arose due to the intensification of the policy of countries against the problem. Statistics show that almost thirty million people are considered to be in forced labor (Zimmerman & Kiss, 2017). At the same time, these data may not be completely reliable since the problem of reporting human trafficking is also relevant to modern society.

Human trafficking affects the political, economic, and social spheres of people’s lives, health care, and legislation. Farrell et al. (2019a) state that it has only now received distribution and attention from law enforcement, policymakers, and social service in the US. At the same time, despite the successes that regulators are making, the human trafficking industry is still thriving due to the inequality of classes and opportunities that are provided to the population. In particular, the sphere of support and application of legal remedies, which are adopted by States, is experiencing difficulties. As already mentioned, the main issue is the lack of accurate data about the number of victims. The consequence of this circumstance is the deprivation of the legislative forces of the real picture of the threat they must fight. Thus, in consequence, insufficiently effective ways of solving the problem are adopted.

Unreliability and a small amount of data also limit the number of scientific papers that are written on this topic. The current state literature on legislation and reporting is quite limited and, in some cases, cannot be accessed by an ordinary user. This implies the fact that not everyone has enough knowledge to correctly interpret legislative acts and reports that use a specialized dictionary to convey information. Scientific articles and other literary sources help to better understand the topic and understand the importance of solving the problem of human trafficking and the need to create specialized acts and ways to report what happened.

It is also worth adding that another issue, which is noted in scientific sources regarding the topic of this study, is the difficulty in identifying the crime and its classification. Thus, Farrell et al. (2019) emphasize that this kind of violation of legislation and human rights does not have its own specific class. This is due to the fact that inside the internal records management systems of legislative bodies, they are marked as different offense types. This aspect arose due to the lack of a specific classification and proper use of human trafficking offense codes.

In addition to the insufficient legislative and reporting base to solve the ever-growing problem of human trafficking, sources highlight an even greater number of circumstances that contribute to the development of this issue. Henceforth, among them, prostitution, organized crime, and the fall of communist regimes in Eastern and Central Europe stand out. Modern slavery is an urgent problem that requires timely solutions. However, the topic under study exists and has been expanding for quite a long time. Moreover, with the development of technology, it has become even more dangerous since legislative norms regarding Internet regulation may differ on the territory of different countries and, thus, law enforcement agencies may miss the problem. Highlighting literature on the topic of modern slavery or human trafficking helps not only to spread awareness about the problem but also to attract the attention of the state and legislative bodies. This will help to create more effective strategies to combat the threat to people and develop collaboration between countries to achieve the most effective results.

Of particular importance when creating such documents and acts is the correct setting of goals and the structure of the fight against the global issue. The literary source Broad and Turnbull (2019) shows by the example of the United Kingdom that the policy, which was formed before full-fledged research was conducted, led to unsatisfactory results. This is because the state has begun to deal with only one type of human traffic while missing that this criminal activity has many subspecies and variations. In addition, the source stressed the need to implement and improve programs to cope with consequences after the experience experienced by the victims and the limitation of problems within internal organizational systems.

Thus, it is important to consider what legislative acts exist at the moment to combat the problem of human trafficking. One of the first, as Dresser (2020) notes in his paper, is the Mann Act, which was adopted in 1910. However, this initiative concerned only the female population, and therefore, it has undergone some changes. The next serious document is the Victim of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act, which significantly expanded the understanding of the problem under investigation. It has identified a list of characteristics of the crime of human trafficking. The next important document was the Palermo Protocol. It also restricted the people who are engaged in traffic, despite the fact that all the attention was not paid to the basic concepts and postulates.

Another source that raises the topic of combating the problem by introducing productive legislation is the article by A. English. Thus, the author notes the lack of effectiveness of modern acts, despite their implementation and use (English, 2017). Moreover, the author emphasizes that human trafficking affects not only sex workers but can also occur to men, women, and children. The researcher sees the way to solve the issue in the introduction of mandatory reporting, which will help to increase awareness and improve the quality of the work of the bodies that are associated with solving the problem.

Mandatory reporting, which was discussed in some articles, may have some drawbacks that may reduce its effectiveness. Therefore, when stating the fact of a crime to the police, many people face the problem of negligent attitude and distrust of the authorities (Federal Information & News Dispatch, 2022). Thus, they harbor the opinion that the state is not able to properly protect its residents. It also contributes to the development of a wave of worries that need to be quieted before the appearance of internal state problems.

Further, human trafficking is actively and unanimously viewed in the literature as a threat to society, which requires productive legislation and a free and organized way of reporting on it. Nazer and Greenbaum (2020) emphasize the previously mentioned information that this problem concerns both adults of both sexes and minors who come from vulnerable and marginalized communities. Moreover, the authors highlight the need to involve a multidisciplinary team that includes health care providers (Nazer & Greenbaum, 2020). This is due to the fact that it is doctors and nurses who often find out about this problem, but they cannot always share it. Kabbash and Ronis (2021) write that “a more comprehensive understanding of its underlying causes is imperative” (Kabbash & Ronis, 2021, p. 322). In addition, the authors’ research showed that the main pitfall that contributes to the expansion of the influence of human trafficking is not weak legislation but inaccuracy in reporting of information. Among the factors, the author highlighted “inconsistencies in the application of trafficking legislation, victim identification and reporting, varying definitions and counts of trafficking, and problematic human-trafficking policies” (Kabbash & Ronis, 2021, p. 322). This is what supports the arguments for the need to improve the legislative system.

Thus, this literary review showed that there is a limited number of articles on the topic of human trafficking legislation and reporting. The introduction of acts and regulations that will help control human trafficking and limit the actions of criminals is very important for modern society. This factor is emphasized in the literature a large number of times, and it is noted that legislation and reporting systems require alterations. To achieve the most successful results, to create new strategies and policies, it is necessary to involve as many different specialists and researchers from different spheres of social functioning as possible. This applies in particular to the medical, political, social, and legislative areas. Studying them will help you gain valuable knowledge about the situation. In addition, new reporting strategies will help provide opportunities for more victims to contact the police. Legislative regulatory authorities, in turn, should be provided with a correct and separate classification for human trafficking as a crime. Therefore, this work showed that the literature shows the need to solve the problem of research and the need to focus on improving legislation and reporting.


Broad, R., & Turnbull, N. (2019). From human trafficking to modern slavery: The development of anti-trafficking policy in the UK. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 25(2), 119-133. Web.

Dresser, H. L. (2020). An Exploratory Analysis of Human Trafficking: Legislation in the Midwest Region (Doctoral dissertation, University of Nebraska at Omaha).

English, A. (2017). Mandatory reporting of human trafficking: potential benefits and risks of harm. AMA Journal of Ethics, 19(1), 54-62. Web.

Farrell, A., Bouché, V., & Wolfe, D. (2019a). Assessing the impact of state human trafficking legislation on criminal justice system outcomes. Law & Policy, 41(2), 174-197. Web.

Farrell, A., Dank, M., Kafafian, M., Lockwood, S., Pfeffer, R., Hughes, A., & Vincent, K. (2019b). Capturing human trafficking victimization through crime reporting. U.S. Department of Justice. Web.

Federal Information & News Dispatch, LLC. (2022). Prohibition on inclusion of adverse information in consumer reporting in cases of human trafficking (Regulation V). The Federal Register / FIND, 87(121), 37700.

Kabbash, L. A., & Ronis, S. T. (2021). Making a dent in human trafficking: investigating the effects of social institutions and policies across 60 countries. Crime, Law and Social Change, 76(3), 321-336. Web.

Nazer, D., & Greenbaum, J. (2020). Human trafficking of children. Pediatric Annals, 49(5), 209-214. Web.

Zimmerman, C., & Kiss, L. (2017). Human trafficking and exploitation: A global health concern. PLoS Medicine, 14(11).

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1. LawBirdie. "Human Trafficking Legislation and Reporting." October 21, 2023.


LawBirdie. "Human Trafficking Legislation and Reporting." October 21, 2023.