LAW ENFORCEMENT RESPONSES TO SEX TRAFFICKING IN BOSNIA- HERZEGOVINA: AN EXPLORATORY ANALYSIS OF THE BORDER POLICE Lisa R. Muftić, PhD - Georgia State

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1 1 LAW ENFORCEMENT RESPONSES TO SEX TRAFFICKING IN BOSNIA- HERZEGOVINA: AN EXPLORATORY ANALYSIS OF THE BORDER POLICE Lisa R. Muftić, PhD - Georgia State University While no area is immune from sex trafficking (ST), post-conflict societies like Bosnia- Herzegovina (herein Bosnia), with their turbulent political, social, and economic conditions, are particularly ripe for such activities. In Bosnia, ST has largely been considered a law enforcement issue because it has the potential to undermine the process of democratization, discredit the rule of law, weaken efforts to reform and build institutions, promote corruption, and threaten the stabilization process in the region (Vreja, 2005). Consequently, the majority of anti-trafficking initiatives instituted in the area have been law enforcement based. One such initiative has been the implementation of law enforcement training programs to better educate officers about ST. Little, however, is known about the effectiveness of this type of training. The current study sets out to empirically explore what impact, if any, training has on officers ST knowledge and experiences working ST cases in Bosnia. Specifically, it is hypothesized that officers who have received training will have a better understanding of general ST issues, will be more knowledgeable about ST law enforcement techniques, and will have more experience working ST cases compared to untrained officers. It is also hypothesized that trained officers will be less likely to believe that they need additional training or technical assistance compared to officers who have not received training. To test these hypotheses, selfreported survey data from Bosnian Border Police (BP) officers will be used to compare the responses of officers who have (n = 188) and have not (n = 152) received training. METHODS Data presented is taken from a larger research project conducted to broadly investigate law enforcement responses to ST in Bosnia. The specific goals of the research project were to: (1) describe the sex industry in Bosnia, (2) provide a profile of key participants involved in ST (e.g., pimps, recruiters, traffickers, buyers, and victims), (3) specify methods of recruitment, movement, initiation, and control of trafficked women, (4) measure officers general knowledge about the causes and consequences of ST, (5) outline law enforcement identification and response practices utilized in Bosnia, (6) identify training and technical assistance needed, and (7) examine officers attitudes related to trafficking victims. In the summer of 2011, law enforcement officers employed by the BP of Bosnia were asked to participate in a ST study. Questionnaires, which were translated from English into

2 2 Bosnian, were distributed by BP administrators to all BP officers working over the course of seven days. A total of 400 surveys were distributed of which 363 surveys were returned (90.8% response rate). Data entry and analysis were conducted in the United States. Sample. Overall, the officers surveyed were primarily male (88.7%) and ranged in age from 21 to 58 years (M=37.7; SD=6.51). The mean year of education completed was 13.4 years (SD = 1.86; range 8 18 years). Officers who participated in the study had, on average, worked for the police for 14.1 years (SD=6.12; range 1 30 years). In terms of rank, 66.7% of surveyed officers were low ranking, 16.4% were mid ranking, and 17.0% were high ranking officers. Training. Respondents were asked to self-report if they had ever received training pertaining to sex trafficking. Half of the officers (51.8%; n=188) responded in the affirmative. Few differences were found between officers who had received training and those who had not. The only significant differences were related to age and time on force, with older (M=38.9 years of age), more experienced (M=15.4 years of service) officers more likely to have received training than younger (M=36.1 years of age; t (330) = -4.11, p<.001), less experienced (M=12.4 years of service; t (331) = -4.63, p<.001) officers. PRELIMINARY FINDINGS General Trafficking Knowledge. On a five-point Likert (where 1 represents very good and 5 represents very weak ), officers were asked to self-report their knowledge of ST legislation, indicators of ST, current ST issues, and victim referral mechanisms in Bosnia. An overall general trafficking knowledge scale was calculated by averaging responses across the aforementioned items. The Cronbach alpha for the general trafficking knowledge scale was.906 indicating that the scale had acceptable internal consistency. As depicted in Table 1, trained officers reported a significantly better general understanding of ST (M=2.41, SD=0.78) than did untrained officers (M=3.02, SD=0.77). Table 1. Trained (n=188) Untrained (n=152) Test Statistic 2 General Trafficking Knowledge (α =.906) ST Legislation ST Indicators Current ST Issues Victim Referral Mechanisms 2.41 (0.78) 2.30 (0.90) 2.43 (0.84) 2.53 (0.87) 2.38 (0.96) 3.02 (0.77) 2.93 (0.91) 2.91 (0.85) 3.16 (0.85) 3.06 (0.94) t (280) = 6.530*** t (284) = 5.87*** t (281) = 4.81*** t (282) = 6.14*** t (5.96) = 6.20*** 2*** p <.001, ** p <.01, * p <.05, one-tailed. Investigation and Knowledge of Techniques. Officers were asked about their experience and knowledge with specialized techniques used to investigate ST cases (see Table 2). Officers

3 3 first reported their knowledge of the technique (1=very good to 5=very weak). An overall general trafficking knowledge scale was calculated by averaging responses across 8 items. The Cronbach alpha for the investigation and knowledge of techniques scale was.911 indicating that the scale had acceptable internal consistency. Trained officers were significantly more knowledgeable about all investigation techniques (M=2.76, SD=0.77) compared to untrained officers (M=3.28, SD=0.90). Respondents then indicated whether or not the technique had been used in the last 12 months (1=yes, 0=no). Differences were not found between officers who had received training and officers who had not. Table 2. Knowledge of Investigation Techniques (α =.911) Interviewed Vulnerable Witnesses Forensic Examination of Victim Forensic Examination of Suspect Forensic Examination of Location Forensic Examination of Vehicle Forensic Examination of Documents Protection Measures for Victims/Witnesses Routine Checks at Border Points Investigation Techniques Used Interviewed Vulnerable Witnesses Forensic Examination of Victim Forensic Examination of Suspect Forensic Examination of Location Forensic Examination of Vehicle Forensic Examination of Documents Protection Measures for Victims/Witnesses Routine Checks at Border Points Trained (n=188) 2.76 (0.77) 2.66 (0.87) 3.17 (1.06) 3.01 (1.14) 2.83 (1.10) 2.83 (1.17) 2.27 (0.97) 2.69 (1.02) 1.96 (0.96) 46.5% 14.6% 14.9% 17.5% 11.7% 22.8% 34.6% 52.7% Untrained (n=152) Test Statistic (0.90) t (89) = 2.94** 3.15 (1.01) t (127) = 2.88** 3.58 (1.06) t (109) = 2.01* 3.62 (1.15) t (107) = 2.69** 3.67 (1.09) t (112) = 4.01*** 3.37 (1.16) t (106) = 2.37** 3.13 (1.25) t (114) = 4.17*** 3.30 (1.05) t (112) = 3.085** 2.26 (1.10) t (141) = 1.76* 33.3% 13.0% 13.4% 10.9% 12.8% 15.2% 19.1% 42.9% χ 2 (2) = 3.45 χ 2 (2) = 1.05 χ 2 (2) = 3.37 χ 2 (2) = 5.67 χ 2 (2) = 5.72 χ 2 (2) = 6.94 χ 2 (2) = 4.94 χ 2 (2) = 3.14 Experience Working Trafficking Cases. Officers self-reported their experience working cases involving trafficked women, traffickers, organized crime rings, and buyers /customers. Overall, very few officers surveyed (7.4%) had direct experience working any type of trafficking case in the past 12 months prior to survey administration. Training did not seem to make a difference except in cases involving traffickers, where a larger percentage of trained officers (12.0%) than non-trained officers (5.1%) were involved in such cases (χ 2 (1)=4.45, p<.05). Training and Technical Assistance Needs. Finally, officers were asked whether they felt they needed training or technical assistance related to various ST issues. Statistically significant differences were found for all measures when training needs were considered. Overall, trained officers were significantly less likely to indicate a need for additional training or technical

4 4 assistance than non-trained officers (see Table 3). Table 4. Training & Technical Assistance Needs Understanding issues of ST Understanding laws Methods for identifying cases of ST Methods for investigating ST cases Understanding the role of prosecutors Collaborating with state & local law enforcement Understanding the role of service providers Collaborating with victim service providers Understanding the rights of ST victims Methods for interviewing ST victims Protection measures for victims and witnesses Trained (n=188) 63.6% 59.5% 72.4% 72.2% 60.1% 58.6% 68.0% 71.7% 58.8% 70.4% 76.7% Untrained (n=152) Test Statistic % χ 2 (1) = 6.61** 75.4% χ 2 (1) = 8.05** 86.4% χ 2 (1) = 8.22** 84.0% χ 2 (1) = 5.59** 73.8% χ 2 (1) = 5.87** 78.6% χ 2 (1) = 12.71*** 79.3% χ 2 (1) = 4.43* 86.1% χ 2 (1) = 8.29** 87.0% χ 2 (1) = 29.95*** 86.9% χ 2 (1) = 10.87*** 88.9% χ 2 (1) = 7.07** DISCUSSION Overall, the results from this study, which found that trained officers report a better understanding of ST in general and have a more thorough knowledge of ST investigation techniques than did untrained officers, highlight the importance of providing training to law enforcement officers related to sex trafficking and support findings from prior research (Mattar & Van Slyke, 2010; Wilson, Walsh, & Kleuber, 2006; Clawson, Dutch, & Cummings, 2004). Policy Relevance. These findings have implications when it comes to police education and policy. Practically speaking, the results from this study suggest that existing ST training in Bosnia may be relatively effective. It should be noted, however, that the at least half (and sometimes nearly three-quarters) of trained officers indicated a need for additional training related to ST (and the vast majority of untrained officers reported a need for ST training). All officers, it appears, recognize the necessity and importance of receiving thorough and ongoing ST training. Furthermore, while trained officers reported higher levels of knowledge related to ST investigation techniques (e.g., how to interview vulnerable witnesses, conduct forensic exams, and protect victims), this knowledge did not appear to translate into trained officers working more ST cases. This study also provides further evidence that while international protocols specify a need for the three Ps (i.e., punishment, protection, and prevention; and training is centered around these areas), punishment is clearly the priority among the law enforcement community, as shown by the fact that among trained officers the majority s experience has been with traffickers and not with victims. This is unfortunate on multiple levels. As first line responders, the police are usually the first officials to come into contact with ST

5 5 victims. Research indicates that trained officers hold more positive views about ST victims than do untrained officers (Clawson et al., 2004) and that such attitudes can influence the outcome of a ST case, as well as future attempts by victims to seek police assistance (Logan, Shannon & Walker, 2006). Relatedly, many cases of ST cases go uninvestigated because officers are unable to correctly identify trafficking victims when they do come into contact with them (Stolz, 2010; Wilson & Dalton, 2008). Training may reduce this problem as research conducted among American police finds that trained officers are 2-3 times more likely to correctly identify trafficking cases after having received specialized training related to trafficking (Farrell et al., 2008). Finally, utilizing trained officers to respond to cases of ST may also reduce the likelihood of revictimization of the victim, a growing concern of nongovernmental agencies and ST victim advocates. Relevance to Transnational Crime & Corruption in Region. In Bosnia, the linkages between organized crime and ST continue to grow and evolve, despite an increase in activities devoted to combatting trafficking over the last decade (Vreja, 2005). One reason for this is the level of corruption (and a general tolerance for human rights abuses, including human trafficking) present in the formal and informal sectors that comprise Bosnian society (Dawson, 2008). Additionally, law enforcement based efforts to thwart ST (e.g., bar raids, tightening of borders) have not lead to a decrease in ST as anticipated, but rather have forced traffickers to change their modus operandi. The sex trade, thus, now operates underground, exists in remote rural areas (in addition to densely populated areas of the country), services a growing number of local clientele, and utilizes more subtle forms of coercion and exploitation to control victims; all of which make enforcement of anti-trafficking laws even more difficult and allows for organized criminal networks to flourish (Mertus & Bertone, 2007). Future Research. The situation in Bosnia provides valuable lessons that can be learned, especially relevant to the advantages and disadvantages of law enforcement responses to human trafficking. It is anticipated that the results from this project will serve as a catalyst for continued research related to formal responses to transnational crime, including sex trafficking. Moreover, the results from this project demonstrate the need to expand our current understanding of law enforcement s knowledge, experience, and training needs, allowing for a better generation of anti-trafficking policy that is not only applicable to the region, but other areas across the globe.

6 6 BIBLIOGRAHPY Clawson, H. J., Small, K. M., Go, E. S., & Myles, B. W. (2003). Needs assessment for service providers and trafficking victims. National Institute of Justice, U.S. DoJ (OJP-99-C-010). Dawson, A. (2008). Post-war settlements and the production of new illegalities: The case of Dayton and people trafficking and prostitution in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Dialect Anthropol, 32, Farrell, A., McDevitt, J., & Fahy, S. (2008). Understanding and improving law enforcement responses to human trafficking. National Institute of Justice, U.S. DoJ (2005-IJ-CX- 0045). Logan, T., Shannon, L., & Walker, R. (2006). Police attitudes toward domestic violence offenders. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 21(10), Mattar, M. & Van Slyke, S. (2010). Improving our approach to human trafficking. Criminology and Public Policy, 9(2), Mertus, J., & Bertone, A. (2007). Combating trafficking: International efforts and their ramifications. In Friman, H. R., & S. Reich (Eds.)., Human Trafficking, human security, and the Balkans (pp ). Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburg Press. Stolz, B. A. (2010). Identifying human trafficking victims: Human trafficking policy. Criminology & Public Policy, 9(2), Vreja, L. O. (2005). Human trafficking in South Eastern Europe. The Quarterly Journal, 4(4), Wilson, J. M., & Dalton, E. (2008). Human trafficking in the heartland: Variation in law enforcement awareness and response. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 42, Wilson, D. G., Wilson, W. F., & Kleuber, S. (2006). Trafficking in human beings: Training and services among US law enforcement agencies. Police Practice & Research, 7(2),

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