northern Colorado human trafficking symposium website

Exploring Private Investigators’ Ability for Human Trafficking Investigations


Charles Hounmenou


University of Illinois at Chicago


This presentation shows that private investigators (PIs) have the potential to supplement law enforcement’s efforts to investigate human trafficking cases. A mixed method design, including survey and interview methods, was used to examine not only the work experience of PIs in human trafficking investigations, but also their strengths and challenges as potential stakeholders in the fight against this problem. This exploratory research was based on data from a subsample of participants (n = 39) representing 48% of an original study sample of PIs (n = 81). The findings highlight PIs’ professional potential and skillset to investigate human trafficking cases, which can make crucial contributions to efforts of recovering human trafficking victims and prosecuting perpetrators. This research opens the perspective to further examine PIs’ ability and legitimacy to collaborate with law enforcement agencies to help improve outcomes of human trafficking investigations.