Can Mandatory Reporting Laws Help Child Survivors of Human Trafficking?
2016 Wisconsin Law Review Forward 69-78
11 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2016 Last revised: 19 May 2016
Date Written: April 20, 2016
Once thought of as primarily a criminal justice issue, human trafficking is now recognized as an issue that implicates all sectors of society. Trafficked individuals have been identified in a breadth of industries, including manufacturing, agriculture, construction, mining, fisheries, forestry, health care, hospitality and tourism, domestic service, restaurants, forced-begging operations, and the sex industry. Preventing exploitation across so many sectors requires a comprehensive, coordinated response. In addition to the criminal justice system, social services, health care professionals, educators, businesses, media, and others all have a role to play in addressing human trafficking and its attendant forms of exploitation. As part of the recent push to broaden engagement in anti-trafficking efforts, policymakers and advocates have identified mandatory child abuse reporting statutes as a vehicle for engaging health care providers, educators, and others professionals who work with children to help identify children at risk of or exploited by human trafficking. This article examines the potential impact of mandatory reporting laws on efforts to address child trafficking. In the past several years, roughly one-quarter of the states have amended their mandatory reporting laws to cover some or all forms of human trafficking. This article argues that these measures, while well-intentioned, might not have the intended impact without further action. The article examines the potential for mandatory reporting to address both sex trafficking and labor trafficking and then discusses how to make mandatory reporting a more effective tool for addressing the trafficking of children.
Keywords: human trafficking, child abuse, child maltreatment, sex trafficking, labor trafficking, legisation
JEL Classification: I10, I18, K19, K30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation