Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Dr. Matthew Jones


Human trafficking exists domestically and internationally, and each year thousands of men, women, and children are trafficked into lives of involuntary servitude. Law enforcement efforts to investigate human trafficking across the United States are similar in nature; yet, prior research had not investigated the possible causes of these similarities. Utilizing institutional theory, this research investigated whether institutional isomorphic pressures have any impact on the formalization of human trafficking investigations. Data were collected from 26 municipal police organizations in a mid-Atlantic state on departmental human trafficking policies and practices via Farrell's understanding law enforcement responses to human trafficking survey instrument. Logistic regression analysis was used to predict the probability of human trafficking investigations occurring when institutional coercive, mimetic, and normative isomorphic pressures are introduced. The results indicated no significant relationship between institutional isomorphic pressures and the formalization of human trafficking investigations for the 26 municipal police departments in a mid-Atlantic state. Nonetheless, this study provides an understanding of municipal police department responses to human trafficking and investigatory practices. Accordingly, the social change implications of the study may encourage municipal policing institutions to develop and implement responses based upon human capital and interagency collaboration.