Secretary Azar Shares HHS Accomplishments & Commitments with the President's Interagency Task Force

The White House hosted the President's Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons this week. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar provided remarks on the efforts of HHS in recent years:

At HHS, the core of our anti-trafficking mission is to identify victims, to support survivors, and to build local capacity to prevent and respond to human trafficking. These efforts are led by Lynn Johnson, who is our Assistant Secretary for Children and Families.

With increased awareness of human trafficking across the country, more cases are being identified and more victims are reaching out for help. Last year the HHS-funded National Human Trafficking Hotline – which hopefully you see the posters all around the country, especially in airports and other transit sites – identified 10,658 potential human trafficking cases connected directly with 7,136 survivors of trafficking, and it made 9,635 referrals to local services. Our grantees provided case management services to 2,429 survivors of human trafficking last year, a 40 percent increase from the previous year.

In this upcoming year, we will be working to strengthen connections between HHS-supported health centers and local community-based service sites. We’re also going to be streamlining data collection to reduce burden on our grantees and our partners while leveraging the data that we collect to improve our programs.

We also will continue to build the capacity of local communities to respond to human trafficking. Last year HHS trained 5,078 health and social service providers through our accredited SOAR training. This upcoming year, we will expand access to SOAR training to more than one million healthcare providers. That’s so that healthcare workers will know to ask questions and identify potential victims of trafficking.

At the state level, the National Advisory Committee on Preventing Sex Trafficking of Children and Youth will release a full report of recommendations and work with state governors and child welfare leaders to implement them.

And next year, the Administration for Children and Families will release a national human trafficking prevention action plan for working with local entities, with a special focus on education in schools and youth-serving programs.

As we near the 20th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, we will continue our work to prevent human trafficking before it occurs and ensure that the victims and their families get the support that they need. Thank you.

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