Podcast: How Can Local Governments Spot Human Trafficking?

The latest research has shown that local governments may be ignoring the threats of human trafficking businesses that are right in front of them.


If you have ever considered whom among local government staff might spot human trafficking -- sexual or labor trafficking -- a recent Local Gov Life podcast from the ICMA can help. Communities can find out for the 25 business models of human trafficking local government intersects with, how front line service staff can be trained to identify the signs on these businesses.

The podcast, which features Margaret F. Henderson of the University of North Carolina School of Government, explains how the crime of human trafficking involves the use of force, or more commonly, fraud or coercion.

City Manager Donald Duncan expanded training to spot human trafficking beyond the police department and social services to include all employees of Conover, North Carolina.

The more we walked through it, the more we realized, ‘hey, you know, we’re really not paying attention to this as we should be,’” he shared with code enforcement personnel that joined him on an eye-opening regional training.

They then looked at the city’s services processes already in place for what could be utilized to scan for human trafficking operations, and code enforcement was a fit.

Now when Conover’s trained public employees spot human trafficking, they can do more than say something. They have the tools to observe and develop reports that identifies those in need. The community works with a human trafficking task force that comprises all levels of government to address these crimes in the region and support victims.

Listen to the episode to learn more about how local governments can spot human trafficking:

Andrea Fox is Editor of Gov1.com and Senior Editor at Lexipol. She is based in Massachusetts.