Justice in Their Own Words: Perceptions and Experiences of (In)Justice Among Human Trafficking Survivors

Hanna Love, Jeanette Hussemann, Lilly Yu, Evelyn McCoy, and Colleen Owens

March 2018

Survivors of interpersonal violence face many challenges when interacting with the criminal justice system, including the fear of being disbelieved, concerns about safety and retaliation, and a distrust in the system’s ability to adequately respond to their cases. Although past studies have documented the challenges survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence face when interacting with the justice system, few have focused on survivors of human trafficking—a population that often experiences misconceptions regarding their victimization, stigma due to perceived involvement with illegal behavior, xenophobia, and criminalization. Without survivors’ perspectives, little is known about how criminal justice actors can address these challenges and improve their interactions with human trafficking survivors.