Understanding the Role of Transportation in Human Trafficking in California

Human trafficking, a form of modern slavery, is the recruitment, transport, transfer of persons using force, fraud or coercion to exploit them for act of labor or sex. According to the International Labor Organization, human trafficking is the fastest growing organized crime with approximately $150 billion in annual profits and 40.3 million individuals trapped in slave-like conditions. The transportation industry plays a critical role in combating human trafficking as traffickers often rely the transportation system to recruit, move or transfer victims of human trafficking for either sex or forced labor. Additionally, transportation is used to move goods (potentially through importation and exportation) produced by forced and trafficked labor. Recognizing the importance of transportation, multiple anti-trafficking stakeholders in California have started initiatives to address the problem. This project investigates the role of transportation in combatting human trafficking in California by conducting a multi-methods study combining analysis of existing reports and databases, surveys, as well as semi-structured in-depth interviews with key stakeholders.

Mineta Consortium for Transportation Mobility
San José State University
Principal Investigator: 
Kezban Yagci Sokat
PI Contact Information: 

San José State University
210 N. 4th St., 4th Floor
San José, CA 95112

Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization): 

U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology – $6,554.72

Total Project Cost: 
Agency ID or Contract Number: 
December 2020 to February 2022
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation: 

The project will: 1) assess the knowledge about current policies, trainings, public awareness initiatives and partnerships about transportation and supply chain management among anti-trafficking practitioners. 2) highlight gaps and opportunities for identifying counter-trafficking strategies, best practices, data collection, information-sharing, collaboration, and legislative and administrative changes.

Project Number: 



Contact Us

SJSU Research Foundation   210 N. 4th Street, 4th Floor, San Jose, CA 95112    Phone: 408-924-7560   Email: mineta-institute@sjsu.edu