Center for Forensic Investigations of Trafficking in Persons

Through collaboration with U.S. and international government organizations, non-government organizations, health care providers, law enforcement, forensic science and other academic institutions, the Center for Forensic Investigations of Trafficking in Persons conducts rigorous research, provides real time investigative assistance, and assists victims of human trafficking.

Despite the best efforts of many government and non-government entities, the crisis of trafficking in persons continues to grow and expand at alarming rates. Current estimates indicate that in excess of 30 million individuals are currently trapped in one form of bondage or exploitation. There is an obvious and overwhelming need for new strategies and methodologies.

The Center for Forensic Investigation of Trafficking in Persons, launched in 2015 at the University of New Haven's Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, has a highly successful track record of combatting human trafficking by advancing the use of scientific and investigative methods in both the academic and practitioner realms. The Henry C. Lee College each year earns national recognition for its signature programs, including top rankings in the country among colleges and universities in the same category.

The use of forensic based techniques in the war against human trafficking is novel. Leading up to the creation of our Center, this concept was presented to numerous U.S. Federal and local law enforcement and other agencies involved with trafficking in persons, as well foreign entities, and numerous forensic science and health care professionals. These proposed concepts have been embraced with great enthusiasm and a desire to see them implemented both domestically and abroad.

The Center for Forensic Investigation of Trafficking in Persons is a unique, first-of-a-kind entity dedicated to the forensic investigation of trafficking in persons.

  • Our Center for Forensic Investigations of Trafficking in Persons is dedicated to combatting human trafficking through education, research, and collaboration. We aim to facilitate cross-sector partnerships such as policing, taskforces, and non-profit organizations by providing educational frameworks that focus on evidence-based research and data to better understand trafficking networks, victims' needs, and suitable scientific practices to investigate trafficking-related crimes. Our goal is to enact change through proactive forensics work, innovative tech tools for evidence gathering, and training programs for key stakeholders to identify and assist victims. Our ultimate vision is a community and justice system that empowers survivors and disrupts exploitation through awareness, intervention, and data-driven advocacy. We bring together resources and expertise to make this vision a reality.

    1. Conduct high-quality research to better understand crime related to human trafficking and sexual violence and their networks, victims, and trends
    2. Provide data, analysis and insights to assist law enforcement in investigations and prosecutions focused on exploitation of human beings
    3. Raise awareness and inform human trafficking prevention efforts through research and education
    4. Advocate for evidence-based policies and programs to combat human trafficking and develop new forensic tools and techniques to aid trafficking investigations and collaborate with stakeholders in the anti-human trafficking field to maximize impact
    1. Publish research studies and reports on human trafficking in peer-reviewed journals and evaluate and improve current trafficking investigation methodologies
    2. Explore DNA related research and other forensic techniques tailored to human trafficking related crimes
    3. Analyze financial networks and online activity to uncover adult and child exploitation operations
    4. Potential partnerships with tech companies, financial institutions and NGOs to leverage data sources and host seminars and lectures to educate law enforcement and civil society groups
    5. Train law enforcement officers on victim-centered, trauma-informed investigation practices and advise policymakers on evidence-based human trafficking prevention and deterrence measures
  • The Center for Human Trafficking recognizes the importance of engaging students in the fight against human trafficking. We provide numerous opportunities for students to get involved and make a difference.

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Expert Faculty & Staff

A variety of faculty and students across the University of New Haven have an interest in combating Trafficking in Persons and using forensic science and related technologies to fight this epidemic. Learn about the people who conduct research and do work in this area of expertise and who will serve as resources for the Center for Forensic Investigation of Trafficking in Persons.

Our Work Fighting Trafficking

Impact Areas

The work of the Center is having an impact across the globe. Our work has made an impact in the areas of enhanced victim support, prevention education, government relations and advocacy, and developing integrated methods to address online sexual exploitation and the production and dissemination of child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

Learn About Our Impact


Academic research has been a constant key objective of the Center. We developed a Best Practice Guide for the use of Biometrics and Forensic Science disciplines to combat human trafficking. We have published research and articles about the use of DNA analysis as an effective investigative tool in human trafficking cases. We have also partnered with other centers and labs at the University of New Haven on research around the use of A.I. and deep learning models, Dark Web detection and threat analysis, and more.

Learn About Our Research

Teaching the Next Generation of Fighters

As a recognized leader in the fields of criminal justice and forensic sciences, the Henry C. Lee College has laid the academic foundation for countless graduates working in fields impacting the fight against human trafficking. In addition to providing opportunities for involvement by students in all disciplines, the Lee College has academic programs directly related to combatting and investigating Trafficking in Persons.

How to Get Involved