Computer Security and Privacy in the Interactions Between Victim Service Providers and Human Trafficking Survivors


Christine Chen, University of Washington; Nicola Dell, Cornell Tech; Franziska Roesner, University of Washington

Distinguished Paper Award Winner


A victim service provider, or VSP, is a crucial partner in a human trafficking survivor’s recovery. VSPs provide or connect survivors to services such as medical care, legal services, employment opportunities, etc. In this work, we study VSP-survivor interactions from a computer security and privacy perspective. Through 17 semi-structured interviews with staff members at VSPs and survivors of trafficking, we surface the role technology plays in VSP-survivor interactions as well as related computer security and privacy concerns and mitigations. Our results highlight various tensions that VSPs must balance, including building trust with their clients (often by giving them as much autonomy as possible) while attempting to guide their use of technology to mitigate risks around revictimization. We conclude with concrete recommendations for computer security and privacy technologists who wish to partner with VSPs to support and empower trafficking survivors.

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@inproceedings {235451,
author = {Christine Chen and Nicola Dell and Franziska Roesner},
title = {Computer Security and Privacy in the Interactions Between Victim Service Providers and Human Trafficking Survivors},
booktitle = {28th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 19)},
year = {2019},
isbn = {978-1-939133-06-9},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
pages = {89--104},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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