After Rescue

About the Project

Since the passage of TVPA in 2000 through the end of February 2012, 3,340 victims of cross-border trafficking received Certification or Eligibility Letters from the US Department of Health and Human Services. This group included 2,899 adults (1,801 women and 1,098 men), 441 children (299 girls and 142 boys). The majority of adult victims or 1,645 individuals were trafficked for labor exploitation, 443 were victims of sex trafficking, and 159 were victims of both sex and labor trafficking. Children included 143 victims of sex trafficking, 211 victims of labor trafficking, and 29 were victims of both sex and labor trafficking. There is little systematic and in-depth knowledge about the characteristics of adult victims, their life experiences, and their trafficking trajectories, all of which affect the appropriateness and efficacy of the services provided and the treatment modalities used to stabilize, rehabilitate, and integrate them into the American society.

With funding from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), ISIM and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) launched a two-year research project to present a profile of adult survivors of human trafficking assisted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Anti-Trafficking Services Programs and to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions to stabilize, rehabilitate, and integrate them into the wider society. The profile will be generated by a systematic and careful use of agency data housed at the USCCB. The evaluation of interventions will be based on quantitative history analysis of the USCCB individual case tracking data, and qualitative assessment of the intervention processes, measures, and survivor outcomes. The objective of the project is to better our understanding of the characteristics of trafficking victims and the efficacy of different intervention strategies in stabilizing their well-being. This project builds on previous collaboration between ISIM and USCCB to study child survivors of trafficking.


The project will use a mixed-methods approach and utilize several data sources:

  • A longitudinal, relational database of 2,233 survivor cases as reported electronically by service providers;
  • Intake assessment and case notes;
  • Group discussions and interviews with service providers to gain an in-depth understanding of the dynamics involved in protecting survivors from repeat victimization and facilitating their reintegration into the mainstream society; and
  • Ethnographic interviews and case files review of selected adult survivors to gain the insiders’ understanding of the challenges and prospects for long-term reintegration into the U.S. society.

The research team is in the midst of analyzing the quantitative dataset. The next 12 months of this research project will further build on these findings, by conducting focus group discussions, ethnographic interviews and case file reviews with service providers at programs that reflect the geographic diversity of survivors and resources. The final report, due in December 2014, will provide a set of policy and programmatic recommendations on ways to enhance the identification of foreign national victims of human trafficking; evaluate and improve the design and implementation of linguistically appropriate and culturally competent assistance programs for trafficking survivors; and improve collaboration with law enforcement to better identify and serve victims of human trafficking.


This project analyzed data on foreign-born, mainly adult survivors who received case management services under the Per Capita Reimbursement program, funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and administered by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), in  fiscal years 2006 to 2011. The final report can be found here.


Elzbieta M. Gozdziak, Ph.D. (Principal Investigator):
B. Lindsay Lowell, Ph.D. (Co-Investigator):