Federal Government Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) called for the creation of the President's Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts among various U.S. Federal government agencies. The following Federal government agencies are implementing programs to protect and assist victims of human trafficking and to capture and prosecute their traffickers.
U.S. Department Health and Human Services
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is responsible for certifying victims of human trafficking once they are identified. This certification allows victims to receive Federally funded benefits and services to the same extent as refugees. HHS also raises awareness of human trafficking through its campaign to Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking.
U.S. Department of Justice
DOJ investigates cases of trafficking and prosecutes the traffickers. DOJ has also contributed to the construction of a network of trafficking victims service providers via their grant programs, and facilitates the complaint process for persons wanting to report a case of trafficking.
- Civil Rights Division, Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit
- Criminal Division, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section
- Office for Victims of Crime
- Office for Victims of Crime, Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force Strategy and Operations e-Guide
- Bureau of Justice Assistance
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)
- National Institute of Justice
U.S. Department of Labor
DOL offers programs such as job-search, job-placement assistance and job-counseling services as well as educational and training services and referrals to supportive services such as transportation, childcare and housing, through its American Job Centers, which victims can access after HHS certification. The Wage and Hour Division also investigates complaints of labor law violation, and is an important partner in the detection of trafficking victims. To report a possible violation, please call 866.487.9243 or visit the Division’s How to File a Complaint page.
U.S. Department of State
State is responsible for coordinating international anti-trafficking programs and efforts.
- The Blue Campaign
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a division of U.S. Department of Homeland Security, investigates cases of trafficking, and is an important partner in victim identification. ICE also adjudicates continued presence status, which makes a victim eligible for HHS certification.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, another division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, grants T nonimmigrant status to victims of human trafficking, which also makes a victim eligible for HHS certification.
USAID funds international programs that prevent trafficking, protect and assist victims, and support prosecutions through training for police and criminal justice personnel. USAID also supports individual country assessments of the scope and nature of trafficking and the efforts of government, civil society, and international organization to combat it. In April 2013 the agency released a Counter-Trafficking in Persons Field Guide to provide practical guidance to design, implement, monitor, and evaluate investments that implement the its Counter-Trafficking in Person Policy.
Department of Defense
The Combating Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) Program Office is charged with enforcing the Department of Defense’s zero tolerance policy for Trafficking In Persons (TIP). The Office ensures that the Services, Combatant Commands, and Defense Agencies have the necessary tools to prevent trafficking.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The EEOC enforces anti-discrimination laws, including those prohibiting discrimination on the bases of race, national origin, and sex, including sexual harassment. Persons who engage in human trafficking may be violating federal anti-discrimination laws. Civil enforcement and litigation of anti-discrimination laws can help trafficking victims obtain remedies.