The National Academies

ACRP 04-24 [Final]

Guidelines to Develop an Anti-Human Trafficking Action Plan for Airports

  Project Data
Funds: $400,000
Research Agency: Cadmus
Principal Investigator: Damon Fordham
Effective Date: 6/8/2020
Completion Date: 6/8/2022



Human trafficking is defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services through force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.  Human traffickers often use local, state, and national infrastructure and transportation systems, including all types of airports, to undertake this activity.


There are significant research gaps in the understanding of human trafficking, and, by its very nature, trafficking is often difficult to detect.  Although the amount of resources and practice to combat this issue is increasing, responding to potential instances of trafficking in an airport setting remains challenging, and sometimes unintentionally results in negative outcomes.  This is often due to the involvement of multiple stakeholders and jurisdictions, resource limitations, and insufficient training.


Research is needed to help airports develop a cohesive approach to help address human trafficking activities that may be occurring at their facility.




The objective of this research is to develop a primer, guidebook, and toolkit to help airport operators create and implement a comprehensive anti-human trafficking action plan.  These deliverables should address all forms of human trafficking and allow airport operators to tailor their approach to their unique situation.


The primer should provide (at a minimum):

  • Overview of all forms of human trafficking;
  • Overview of human trafficking in an airport setting;
  • Description of the roles of airports and stakeholders (e.g., law enforcement and other agencies, non-government organizations, contractors, tenants) in identifying and reducing human trafficking; and
  • Summary of current practice at airports.

The guidebook should include (at a minimum):

  • List and description of anti-human trafficking practices airports may consider;
  • Guidelines, including examples, to help airports:
    • Conduct a vulnerability and needs assessment;
    • Conduct a jurisdictional analysis (e.g., how authorities relate to each other to identify overlaps and gaps);
    • Create an airport-specific anti-human trafficking action plan that considers:
      • Geography,
      • Activity levels,
      • Types of aircraft operations and service,
      • Existing practices,
      • Existing and potential programs and partners (e.g., local, state, federal, tribal agencies, faith-based, and non-government organizations),
      • Internal/external stakeholder coordination and engagement,
      • Resource availability, and
      • Political environment and local conditions;
    • Evaluate the plan’s effectiveness (e.g., through a peer review); and
    • Select and use the resources in the toolkit;
  • Examples of specific human trafficking incidents at airports, including diverse perspectives, and lessons learned;
  • Annotated list of resources (e.g., publications, training materials, and organizations) that could support the development of an airport anti-trafficking program; and
  • Representative positive and negative case studies (including non-airport examples, if appropriate). 

The toolkit should include (at a minimum):

  • Tools to inventory and track human trafficking awareness and practice at an airport;
  • Checklists and flowcharts to aid in decision-making, action plan development, and plan implementation;
  • Airport anti-human trafficking action plan template that includes the following components (at a minimum):
    • Vulnerability and needs assessment result,
    • Jurisdictional analysis result,
    • Staff and stakeholder responsibilities,
    • Coordination, response, and reporting protocols,
    • Training requirements and materials available,
    • Available funding resources,
    • Communication and marketing campaigns,
    • Implementation timeline, and
    • Monitoring and evaluation plan;
  • Quality assessment checklist for evaluating the human trafficking action plan;
  • Training material descriptions and resources (including situational scenarios); and
  • Communication templates (e.g., executive summary, newsletters, graphics) for employee and internal/external stakeholder engagement that are culturally sensitive and reflect language diversity.



Research is complete.  Results published in ACRP Research Report 249.


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