Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking at the University of Nebraska


Date of this Version



Presentation for 2010 Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking, September 30 - October 2, 2010, Lincoln, Nebraska. Copyright © 2010 Michelle Crawford Rickert.


Human trafficking is squarely a criminal justice problem. In order to eradicate human trafficking the traffickers need to be deterred from engaging in the business of trafficking in people. From a law and economics perspective, optimal deterrence is reached when a sentence or fine is just greater than the probability of getting caught multiplied by the benefit to the criminal. Utilizing this model, the proposed presentation will attempt to demonstrate how to sufficiently deter the trafficker by increasing probability of prosecutions through local laws, increasing the fines and sentences of traffickers once convicted, and increasing the certainty of detection through increased law enforcement training and public awareness campaigns. Additionally, this presentation will address the issues that the deterrence model does not deal with as readily including organized criminal units which are vertically integrated, and cultural trafficking of domestic servants, both of which likely deserve departure from this model to account for motivational factors.

[Notes to some slides follow the main presentation.]