Data-Driven Research

The Human Trafficking Legal Center has created comprehensive databases of civil and criminal trafficking cases filed in U.S. federal courts.


We analyze criminal and civil databases to identify trends and spot system failures. This research brings rigor to the anti-trafficking movement and aids pro bono lawyers in representing trafficking survivors.

Data Story

Number of Civil Trafficking Cases

In 2003, Congress passed a law allowing trafficking victims to recover civil damages for trafficking in federal courts. Since then, the number of cases filed has increased steadily.

Data Story

Forced Labor and Civil Trafficking Cases

Since 2003, nearly 77% of all federal civil trafficking cases filed by survivors included allegations of forced labor.

Data Story

Federal Cases Filed by Location of Filing

As of December 31, 2020, plaintiffs had filed federal civil human trafficking cases in 48 states and territories. No civil trafficking cases have been filed in Montana, New Mexico, Nebraska, Nevada, or Vermont (indicated in gray).

Data Story

Method of Entry

The majority (55%) of civil trafficking cases filed between 2003 and 2020 were brought by foreign-born plaintiffs, many of whom entered the United States with legal visas or legal status.

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