Multi-period max flow network interdiction with restructuring for disrupting domestic sex trafficking networks

Daniel Kosmas, Thomas C. Sharkey, John E. Mitchell, Kayse Lee Maass, Lauren Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We consider a new class of multi-period network interdiction problems, where interdiction and restructuring decisions are decided upon before the network is operated and implemented throughout the time horizon. We discuss how we apply this new problem to disrupting domestic sex trafficking networks, and introduce a variant where a second cooperating attacker has the ability to interdict victims and prevent the recruitment of prospective victims. This problem is modeled as a bilevel mixed integer linear program (BMILP), and is solved using column-and-constraint generation with partial information. We also simplify the BMILP when all interdictions are implemented before the network is operated. Modeling-based augmentations are proposed to significantly improve the solution time in a majority of instances tested. We apply our method to synthetic domestic sex trafficking networks, and discuss policy implications from our model. In particular, we show how preventing the recruitment of prospective victims may be as essential to disrupting sex trafficking as interdicting existing participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)797-860
Number of pages64
JournalAnnals of Operations Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2022.


  • Illicit networks
  • Multi-period
  • Network interdiction
  • Sex trafficking


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