Buffalo Network Evaluability Assessment
Expanding avenues for and flow of human trafficking is a problem across the nation.
Vulnerable individuals caught up by those who would profit from trafficking human beings may be from local communities or across the world. Too often, their captivity is not visible. But when they do interact with social systems – which at times is the criminal justice system – having protocols ready to support them is critical.
Meeting the needs of survivors of human trafficking who find themselves in the criminal justice system requires a network of service providers.
The Buffalo Human Trafficking Intervention Court (HTIC) was established with a mission to minimize criminal convictions of survivors of human trafficking and to connect survivors with needed services so that they may attain independent stability. The program treats each client as an individual with unique circumstances and needs, whether they are legal, health, safety planning, employment, or housing services, transportation, clothing, food, etc. Whether an HTIC is achieving its goals requires objective evaluation.
A rigorous evaluation of an HTIC calls for several key inputs.
Court system data is a starting point, necessitating data linkages across survivor interactions with the criminal justice system. But data quality relies on trained personnel, and sufficient preparation of the judge and other court personnel to work within a non-traditional justice structure is essential. Confidential data input from collaborating service providers may provide further evidence of survivor outcomes; a trusted local resource coordinator is needed to build confidence in this data structure. Underlying each of these design elements is the crucial input and review of research protocols by survivors of human trafficking.