“UNH forensic scientist targets worldwide sex trafficking through DNA” Rachel Chinapen

In the United States and abroad, it can be particularly challenging to prosecute pimps and leaders of sex trafficking rings. Researchers at the University of New Hampshire are discovering new tools that could help strengthen the cases against these perpetrators. Rachel Chinapen of the New Haven Register shares more. This is an excerpt from the New Haven Register. The source of this excerpt is http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/20140322/unh-forensic-scientist-targets-worldwide-sex-trafficking-through-dna

image courtesy of the New Haven Register

image courtesy of the New Haven Register

“Victims of human trafficking are often stripped of their passports, identification, and ultimately, their identities.

DNA is the one thing that remains with a victim, and for that reason and others, it can be a powerful tool in combatting human trafficking, according to forensic scientist Timothy Palmbach.

Palmbach, chairman of the Forensic Science Department at the University of New Haven, set out last year to test the use of DNA analysis in identifying victims, prosecuting traffickers and ultimately, developing a DNA database of victims and at-risk persons. Palmbach retired from the state Department of Public Safety in 2004, last serving as a major in charge of the Division of Scientific Services.

[…]

DNA has ‘value on a multitude of fronts’ and can serve as an ‘objective’ tool to support a victim’s testimony.

‘Up to this point and time, the only successful prosecution requires that this victimized child or woman testifies in court in front of the accusers, and it’s extremely difficult for them to do that, and it’s really difficult for them to do that powerfully,’ he said. ‘So we’re going to add to that the support of forensic evidence, mainly DNA evidence, to prove what happened.’

[…]

‘Ultimately, we want to gather the evidence to take the network down,’ Palmbach said. ‘We don’t want to close one brothel; we want to close all 50 that are operated through this organized network. That’s the only way you’re going to really make a long-term dent in it, and that’s going to take multiple years of investigative efforts.'”

This is a significantly shortened excerpt. To read the full article, please visit the New Haven Register website http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/20140322/unh-forensic-scientist-targets-worldwide-sex-trafficking-through-dna

Rachel Chinapen is a reporter for the New Haven Register.