Today, the FBI released its first-ever public compilations of human trafficking data and cargo theft data collected through its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. Both reports contain 2013 data.

As with any new UCR collection effort, the data in both the human trafficking and cargo theft reports is limited for a variety of reasons—the time and resources it takes for agencies to implement technical changes within their own systems, the need to align state and local policies with federal requirements, and the education and training of participants.

We do, however, expect that the number of agencies reporting data on human trafficking and cargo theft offenses will grow over time. And both collections will be incorporated into UCR’s annual Crime in the U.S report—compiled from our Summary Reporting System—and our annual National Incident-Based Reporting System, or NIBRS, report—a more comprehensive accounting of crime which contains additional details on each single crime occurrence. Those two reports—containing data from 2014—will be published later this year.

In January 2013, UCR began collecting offense and arrest data concerning human trafficking from its users as authorized by the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Act of 2008. Under the act, two additional offenses in both the Summary Reporting System and the NIBRS were created: Human Trafficking/Commercial Sex Acts and Human Trafficking/Involuntary Servitude.

Data on cargo theft, authorized as a separate category in UCR under the USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005, has been reported to the FBI on a very limited basis for several years, but this 2013 report is the first public release of the data. Cargo theft is often described as a “gateway” crime that can lead to broader investigations in areas like organized crime, drug trafficking, health care fraud, and even terrorism.

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