Countering Human Trafficking: A Toolkit for State DOTs

Human trafficking can be defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for labor or services through force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, commercial sex acts, or slavery. Within the United States, human traffickers are using national, state, and local transportation infrastructure, systems, and modes. Under NCHRP Project 20-121, “State DOT Contributions to the Study, Investigation, and Interdiction of Human Trafficking," the research team conducted extensive research, synthesis, and analysis, including a review of academic and grey literature (podcasts, blogs, deep journalism, etc.); informal interviews with a range of experts and stakeholders; inter-disciplinary knowledge transfer via work groups; a project survey (long and short form); and structured interviews with state departments of transportation (DOTs). The final report documenting the results from this project, including how DOTs are currently countering human trafficking and strategies for the future, is available on request. State DOT staff resources and practices (including policy development/implementation, training, and technology) have the potential to assist in efforts to combat human trafficking, aid victims, and support critical decision-making. Many transportation professionals are not familiar with the problem of and the tools available for combating human trafficking; and, while some have awareness, their knowledge may be limited to anecdotal experiences. It can be challenging to rally the resources needed to educate employees on the scope of the problem and on the specific steps they can take – through planning, programming, and daily operations – to respond appropriately. NCHRP Project 20-121 identified several actions that state DOT personnel can take to enhance awareness and use of their resources to supply valuable information that supports anti-human-trafficking efforts. To fully implement the results from NCHRP Project 20-121, a toolkit with guidance and training materials is needed to assist state DOTs in determining and supporting priority action(s) to combat human trafficking in their state. The objectives of this project are to build on the contractor’s final report from NCHRP Project 20-121 to develop a suite of tools that support effective training, policy, and collaboration practices related to combatting human trafficking. The products from this project will be tailored to employees of state DOTs as well as their contractors and collaborative partners engaged in countering human trafficking operations, but the results will also likely benefit other transportation agencies.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $450000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-121A

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Brooks, Mike

  • Performing Organizations:

    Texas Transportation Institute

    Texas A&M University System
    3135 TAMU
    College Station, TX  United States  77843-3135
  • Principal Investigators:

    Habermann, John

  • Start Date: 20230925
  • Expected Completion Date: 20250722
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01775925
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-121A
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Jul 5 2021 4:43PM