In early 2021, Justice and Care and the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University launched a two-year Global Experts Consortium on Prosecuting Human Trafficking to increase human trafficking investigation and prosecution efforts around the world.

“An international collaboration of the key figures in successful trafficking and exploitation prosecutions will help justice sector stakeholders and other policymakers move forward with greater knowledge and tools to ensure perpetrators of this heinous offence are brought to justice.” – Caroline Haughey, OBE QC

Human trafficking – also known as modern slavery – deprives more than 25 million people worldwide of their freedom and touches nearly every corner of the world. Its toll goes well beyond the suffering it inflicts upon individuals: it swells the ranks of vulnerable communities, strains public resources, and distorts markets and licit commerce.

Despite increased awareness, the number of investigations, prosecutions, and convictions of human trafficking offences remains disturbingly low – and by many measures, getting worse. Recent statistics from the U.S. Department of State indicate that there were 11,841 criminal prosecutions globally in 2019, representing a 38% decrease in prosecutions since 2015. Similarly, between 2015 and 2018, the prosecution of traffickers in Europe decreased by 52%, averaging about 1,500 convictions per year, despite identifying over 13,500 victims annually.

As the international community marked the twentieth anniversary of organised anti-trafficking efforts, the McCain Institute’s launched and leads this Consortium of leading human trafficking prosecutors. The small group of invited representatives convenes regularly for action-oriented conversations to discuss current trends and challenges, share recent successes and failures, as well as exchange and review best available evidence for moving successfully through the investigation, prosecution, conviction lifecycle.

The objectives of the Prosecutors Consortium are to:

  • Align best available evidence for prosecuting human trafficking cases with a victim-centred approach
  • Develop specific, targeted policy recommendations
  • Build a vibrant global practitioners’ network of experienced human trafficking prosecutors