Ends-Means-Purpose Model

How do I figure out whether my client is a victim of human trafficking?

Target Audience

This tool is mainly for use by attorneys and legal providers to help identify human trafficking and the legal theory of their client's case. However, other providers may use this tool to help identify potential trafficking victimization. If you are not an attorney or legal provider with attorney-client privilege, be mindful of how much information you need to collect in order to provide your services.  For more information on privilege and confidentiality issues for social service providers, review our free course “Privilege and Confidentiality for Social Service Providers."

Level of Involvement

Much of the terminology used in the EMP model is defined in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act under 22 USC §7102.  In order to use this model, it is strongly recommended that you have additional training on the legal definition of trafficking.  CAST’s Training and Technical Assistance team has provided an in-depth training on the definition of trafficking in our free e-learning courses which can be accessed here:

Prior to Using this Toolkit

This model is meant to be utilized after you have done an initial intake/interview with your client and have facts available to analyze.  This process is meant to be completed on your own and not in conjunction with the survivor.  

What is the EMP Model and Why Should I Use It?

The Ends-Means-Process (EMP) model is to help attorneys and other providers apply the facts that they’ve learned from clients to see whether the client is a victim of severe form of trafficking in persons as defined in the statute and regulations.  

Many advocates are familiar with red flag indicators or checklists to try to identify whether their client has been trafficked. However, over reliance on these indicators has led to misidentification and increased denials of certain client’s cases.  The EMP model was created to assist in minimizing denials of cases based on “Severe form of trafficking in persons.”  This model not only helps clearly identify the legally relevant facts to the trafficking victimization, it also helps to identify any gaps in the facts so that attorneys can interview their clients again with a tailored focus. The boxes at the top are where you can sort all the information you have, while the checkboxes below help you to match the facts with the legal definition of “severe form of trafficking”

Additionally, this tool also aids attorneys to identify the theory of their case so they can have a framework prior to beginning their casework. 

Download the EMP model worksheet here

How Do I Use It?

CAST’s Training and Technical Assistance team flipped the traditional Action-Means-Purpose/Process-Means-Ends model to focus on the intentional actions the perpetrator took to put the victim in a situation of involuntary servitude, debt bondage, and/or sex trafficking.

Ends-Means-Purpose Worksheet Screenshot

Start on the “Ends” by identifying the services or work the victim was required to perform. Once you identify the services, check off the appropriate box for which type of trafficking your client may have experience. In working left to right, you might find that you will have to change this box later.

Next move to the “Means” category.  In this category, you want to be clear as possible about the actions the perpetrator did to make the victim perform the services you have already identified in the “Ends” category.  Be careful not to list all the abuses the client experienced at this time. You should be specific as to the actions the perpetrator took that directly caused the victim to perform the work.  In other words, while the other abuses may be horrific or traumatic, our goal at this time is to see the specific actions that made the victim feel that failure to perform the services would result in serious harm.  After you have identified the relevant facts, you can check off the appropriate box below for force, fraud, or coercion.   (Note: The “fraud” box has an asterisk because fraud alone may not be sufficient to prove involuntary servitude. For more information, view our e-learning course “Human Trafficking Defined for Attorneys.”).

Now, you can move onto the “Process” column.  Here, you will identify the actions the perpetrator took to get the victim into the situation. Then, check off the corresponding box of the legal definition.

Finally, when you have completed all the boxes, the “Summarize” box helps you to be able to articulate clearly the trafficking experienced by your client.  This summary sentence serves as the theory of the case and can be useful in crafting legal arguments for T visas or other motions!

Additional Tips for Analysis

  • Don’t try to make any facts fit into a specific category. If you don’t have the information to check off a box with certainty or are unsure how a fact is relevant, it’s likely a sign that you need to interview your client a little more for additional information and clarification.  Download a sample list of interview questions for attorneys here.  You won’t always get everything you need on the first interview, trafficking intakes can take several hours to complete.
  • If you have identified multiple potential perpetrators, try to figure out who the perpetrator is that is making the making the victim actually perform the services. (e.g., overseas recruiter, lender, and employer). If you can’t figure out who the perpetrator is, perform the EMP model exercise by choosing just one of the actors to be the perpetrator and seeing whether you can complete the box.
  • Human Trafficking analysis gets easier with more practice and a seeing a wide variety of cases. With time, the EMP model analysis will become intuitive.