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Photograph of a women with duct tape over her mouth with the "help" written on it.

Misconceptions about human trafficking are widespread.

Separating Fact and Fiction

January 2012, Number 03.01

“Law enforcement may fail to recognize the victims of human trafficking as they often emerge as undocumented individuals, unlawfully present in a given country, and are frequently involved in adjunct criminal activity. Discerning the victims of human trafficking from the onset of their initial encounter with law enforcement is critical to developing a successful prosecution of the organizations and individuals involved in trafficking humans. Immediately deporting or placing the victims into criminal justice systems will likely impede the ability to successfully investigate and prosecute trafficking organizations successfully. Additionally, failing to recognize the physical and psychological trauma that the victims may be experiencing will often limit their cooperation with law enforcement. Several misconceptions are pervasive throughout law enforcement communities and civil societies worldwide that impede the effective investigation and prosecution of trafficking organizations. This article seeks to address some of those common fallacies...”

Excerpt from Michael Donofrio, “Separating Fact and Fiction,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues  3, No. 1, 2012: 32-35.

Michael Donofrio joined the Marshall Center in September 2011 as a contract instructor in countering illicit trafficking. Mr. Donofrio is a retired federal criminal investigator with more than 26 years of experience as a customs agent and administrator fighting corruption, money laundering, and narcotics, human, and arms smuggling and trafficking. Employed at Culmen International LLC in Alexandria, Virginia, Mr. Donofrio earned a master’s degree in public administration from California State University, East Bay, and a bachelor’s in biology from California State University, Sacramento.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.