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FACT SHEET: FEDERAL EFFORTS TO ASSIST VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Published: September 27, 2012

 

Official Campaign Material (PDF 209KB)

 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services | U.S. Department of Justice | U.S. Department of State | U.S. Agency for International Development | U.S. Department of Labor | U.S. Department of Homeland Security | U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services | Immigration and Customs Enforcement | U.S. Department of Education | U.S. Department of Defense

 

Many U.S. Government agencies are involved in identifying and assisting victims of human trafficking. Federal agencies carry out the duties laid out for them in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) and its subsequent reauthorizations, and develop new initiatives, as needed.  Federal agencies that play a role in assisting victims of trafficking include the following:

 

 

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the federal agency responsible for providing victims of human trafficking access to benefits and services needed to help them restore their lives and achieve self-sufficiency.  HHS, through the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), certifies adult foreign victims of human trafficking and provides letters of eligibility to foreign minor (under 18) victims so that they are eligible for federal and State benefits and services to the same extent as refugees. ORR also provides funding for comprehensive case management services to foreign victims of trafficking and potential victims seeking HHS certification in the United States. U.S. citizen and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) victims do not need to be certified or receive a letter of eligibility to be eligible for similar benefits and services. Through the ORR Anti-Trafficking in Persons Program, HHS also leads the Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking campaign, which established Rescue and Restore coalitions in 24 cities, regions, and States. These community action groups are committed to addressing the problem of human trafficking in their own communities. Grantees funded through the Rescue and Restore Regional Program serve as the focal points for regional public awareness campaign activities and intensification of local outreach to identify victims of human trafficking. HHS also funds the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC), a national, toll-free hotline for the human trafficking field in the United States that is reached by calling 1-888-3737-888 or emailing NHTRC@PolarisProject.org. The NHTRC operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year.
     
  • U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigates cases of trafficking through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and local Anti-Human Trafficking Task Forces throughout the country. It prosecutes the traffickers through the work of the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit within the Civil Rights Division, and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) within the Criminal Division, in partnership with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout the country.  Through its Office of Justice Programs, DOJ has also funded a network of service providers that provide assistance to victims. DOJ also produces the Attorney General’s Annual Report to Congress and Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons, which documents all Federal agencies’ anti-trafficking activities. Significant research on human trafficking is conducted by the National Institute of Justice. (www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/human_trafficking/human_... and www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/vc_majorthefts/cac/innocencelost
     
  • U.S. Department of State chairs the interagency working group and task force in charge of coordinating Federal anti-trafficking policies and programs. The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP) produces the U.S. Government’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report that provides a country-by-country assessment of global anti-trafficking trends. Both J/TIP and the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration fund international programs to identify and serve human trafficking victims.  (www.state.gov/j/tip/)
     
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funds international anti-trafficking in persons programs that prevent trafficking, protect and assist victims, and support prosecutions through trainings for officials in judicial systems. (www.usaid.gov)
     
  • U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) offers programs that provide employment services for which certified victims of trafficking are eligible. Through its One-Stop Career Center System, DOL provides training referrals, career counseling, job listings, and other employment services. The Wage and Hour Division investigates complaints of labor law violation and is an important partner in identifying trafficking victims. The Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) supports research on international child labor and human trafficking and awards grants to organizations engaged in efforts to eliminate exploitive child labor around the world.  ILAB also publishes reports on child labor and/or forced labor in countries worldwide, including the "List of Goods Produced by Child or Forced Labor." (www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/ocft/)
     
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched the Blue Campaign to coordinate and enhance the Department’s anti-human trafficking efforts. The Blue Campaign includes 17 DHS components and harnesses and leverages the varied authorities and resources of the Department to deter human trafficking by increasing awareness, protecting victims, and contributing to a robust criminal justice response. Two of these components, USCIS and ICE Homeland Security Investigations, are described below.  (www.dhs.gov/human-trafficking-indicators)  
     
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides two types of immigration relief to victims of human trafficking:  T Nonimmigrant Status (T Visa), which allows victims of a severe form of trafficking in persons to remain in the United States for up to four years while assisting law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking cases, and U Nonimmigrant Status (U Visa), which provides immigration protection to crime victims, including trafficking victims, who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of the crime.
     
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), through Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), investigates cases of trafficking and is an important partner in victim identification. HSI has more than 10,000 employees that include 6,700 special agents who are assigned to more than 200 cities throughout the U.S. and 47 countries around the world. ICE also grants Continued Presence (CP), which is a temporary form of immigration relief that Federal law enforcement officials request on behalf of a victim of a severe form of trafficking who is also a potential witness. (www.ice.gov/human-trafficking/)
     
  • U.S. Department of Education (ED) raises awareness of human trafficking and educates administrators, teachers, and students on child trafficking victim identification. The Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools develops materials on human trafficking for use in schools, such as "Human Trafficking of Children in the United States: A Fact Sheet for Schools."
     
  • U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has made human trafficking awareness training mandatory for all DOD military members and civilian employees.  The department has adopted a zero tolerance policy on prostitution and human trafficking and made patronizing a prostitute a chargeable offense under the military justice system. DOD published an internal Instruction that assigned combating trafficking in persons (CTIP) program responsibilities across DOD. (www.dodig.mil/Inspections/IPO/combatinghuman.htm and  http://ctip.defense.gov/)

If you think you have come into contact with a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1.888.373.7888. The NHTRC can help you identify and coordinate with local organizations that protect and serve trafficking victims.

National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1.888.373.7888