DHS Anti-Trafficking Stakeholder Event

Department of Homeland Security

Anti-Trafficking Stakeholder Event
January 11, 2012

Good afternoon. Thanks to all the stakeholders and representatives from our sister agencies for participating in today's meeting.  Many thanks as well to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for hosting this important event recognizing National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plays a key role in the fight against human trafficking. We are responsible for certifying foreign persons as trafficking victims in the United States and helping them get the benefits and services they need to rebuild their lives.

We have also been charged with increasing the public’s awareness of human trafficking and the services available to victims. One of the ways that we meet these responsibilities is through the National Human Trafficking Victim Assistance Program—this program provides case management to foreign victims of trafficking to assist them in remaining free and retaking control of their lives.

Since 2001, HHS has certified over 3,187 foreign victims of trafficking in the United States—41% of these minors were victims of either sex trafficking or a combination of sex and labor trafficking.

HHS also has statutory authority to help domestic victims of trafficking, which is why we urge our domestic violence  and runaway and homeless youth shelter grantees to identify victims among their clients.

Over the last ten years, the scope and funding mechanisms of HHS’ anti-trafficking programs have evolved.

During  2011, HHS funding allowed 729 foreign trafficking victims and their families to receive case management services. 

HHS supports the National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s 24-hr, toll-free hotline.  The hotline received 11,381 total calls in Fiscal Year 2010—a 57% increase from the previous fiscal year. Of this total:

Approximately 57 percent involved either sex trafficking or a combination of sex and labor trafficking.

499 calls resulted in a direct report to law enforcement.

In 2001, the Center received a total of 16,244 calls and 733 emails.   

HHS funds over 400 community-based organizations serving runaway, “thrown-away,” and homeless youth—who, in turn, may also be subject to  sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.  That’s why the Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center (RHYTTAC)  provided training, technical assistance, and resources on Human Trafficking during  2011.

HHS’ domestic violence programs may serve trafficking victims within the context of existing services.  Currently, HHS supports State Domestic Violence Coalitions in each State and Territory—some of which are involved in State-level coordination of services and advocacy for both domestic and foreign victims of trafficking. 

As part of our upcoming strategic initiatives for 2012, ACF will aim to  strengthen our anti-trafficking efforts.  We’ll expand training  and technical assistance to anti-trafficking stakeholders and regional offices on issues such as victim identification, outreach, and victim services.  We just updated our online comprehensive resource guide on community, state, and federal services for trafficking victims, and we welcome your feedback on it.

ACF also approved the establishment of an internal workgroup to better integrate services for trafficking victims, and we hope to further ongoing interagency collaboration. 

I’m excited about this event and hope that today we’ll exchange ideas about how we can become more effective in our efforts to prevent and combat the tragedy of human trafficking.  We look forward to hearing your thoughts!