FY 2013 HHS Excerpts from the Attorney General's Annual Report on U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking


HHS contributes to the Department of Justice Attorney General’s Annual Reports to Congress and Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons. This report provides recommendations to federal agencies and updates from each agency on anti-trafficking efforts.

HHS excerpts from the FY 2013 Report are available below. Read the full FY 2013 Attorney General's Report.

Table of Contents

Benefits and Services Given Domestically to Trafficking Victims

Training, Outreach, and Public Awareness Efforts

Benefits and Services Given Domestically to Trafficking Victims

In FY 2013, HHS created the Senior Advisor on Trafficking in Persons position in the Immediate Office of the Assistant Secretary at ACF. The position was established to advise HHS on strategies, policies, and partnerships to prevent human trafficking and equip victims with resources to escape exploitation and rebuild their lives. The position is designed to magnify the impact of HHS activities by increasing integration, coordination, and collaboration of anti-trafficking activities across the multiple health and human service programs and systems that intersect with populations affected by human trafficking, and by increasing leadership capacity for interagency collaborations and stakeholder engagement.

In FY 2013, ACF established an Anti-Trafficking Initiatives Working Group that met on a monthly basis and included participation from the Immediate Office of the Assistant Secretary; Children’s Bureau and Family and Youth Services Bureau at the Administration for Children, Youth, and Families; the Administration for Native Americans; ORR; Office for Planning, Research, and Evaluation; Office of Regional Operations; Office of Public Affairs; Office of Community Services; Office of Legislative Affairs and Budgeting; and the ACF Chief Medical Officer.

In FY 2013, HHS continued to convene a human trafficking subcommittee within the HHS Violence against Women Steering Committee to discuss strengthening of health and human service responses to human trafficking, including participation from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Health Resources and Services Administration. ACF and the HHS Office of Violence Against Women convened an intra-agency working group to inform the drafting and finalization of the Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking and announced a joint initiative to enhance health system responses to human trafficking at the 2013 annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative.

Benefits and Services to Foreign National Victims of Human Trafficking

The TVPA designated HHS as the agency responsible for providing assistance to foreign national human trafficking victims to become eligible to receive benefits and services so they can rebuild their lives safely in the United States. 22 U.S.C. § 7105(b). ATIP in the ORR within ACF performs the following service-related activities under the TVPA: (1) issues certifications to non-U.S. citizen, non-lawful permanent resident (LPR) adult human trafficking victims who are willing to assist in the investigation and prosecution of a trafficking crime and have received Continued Presence or made a bona fide application for a T Visa that was not denied (see Part V.A. below); (2) issues Eligibility Letters to non-U.S. citizen, non-LPR child human trafficking victims (i.e., minors); (3) provides services and case management to foreign human trafficking victims through a network of service providers across the United States; and (4) builds capacity nationally through training and technical assistance and operation of the NHTRC (see Part IV.A.4 below).

1. Certifications and Letters of Eligibility

Section 107(b)(1)(E) of the TVPA, as amended, provides that the Secretary of HHS, after consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, may certify an adult victim of a severe form of trafficking who: (1) is willing to assist in every reasonable way in the investigation and prosecution of severe forms of human trafficking, or who is unable to cooperate due to physical or psychological trauma; and (2) has made a bona fide application for a visa under Section 101(a)(15)(T) of the Immigration and Nationality Act that has not been denied; or is a person whose continued presence in the United States the Secretary of Homeland Security is ensuring in order to facilitate prosecutions of traffickers. 22 U.S.C. § 7105(b)(1)(E).

Certification should not be equated with victim identification. HHS grantees work with trafficking victims at every stage of the victim identification process, from initial contact with suspected victims who might not be ready to work with law enforcement or fully relate their experiences to service providers, to helping certified victims rebuild their lives with the help of federal benefits. Factors such as language, safety concerns, and psychological and physical trauma present significant barriers to victims coming forward. Once they do, these individuals rely on highly trained social service providers, attorneys, and law enforcement agents to help them navigate through the certification process. Still, other foreign-born victims may elect to return to their country of origin without seeking any benefits in the United States. HHS provides victims identified by its nongovernmental partners with an array of services that will assist them in the pursuit of certification, should victims choose to cooperate with law enforcement and receive the benefits available to them under the TVPA.

The TVPA authorizes the “certification” of adult victims to receive certain federally-funded benefits and services, such as cash assistance, medical care, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, and housing. HHS notifies an adult victim of trafficking of his or her eligibility for benefits and services by means of a “Certification Letter.” Although not required to receive HHS certification, a child who is found to be a trafficking victim receives an “Eligibility Letter” from HHS to obtain the same types of benefits and services. Moreover, upon receipt of credible information that an alien child who is seeking assistance may have been subjected to a severe form of trafficking in persons, HHS promptly determines if the child is eligible for interim assistance and can issue an “Interim Assistance Letter” providing the child interim eligibility for benefits and services for up to 90 days, which may be extended for an additional 30 days, during which time HHS will determine the child’s eligibility for long-term assistance.
On March 23, 2009, the HHS Secretary delegated the authority to provide interim assistance to potential child human trafficking victims to the Assistant Secretary of ACF, who further delegated this authority on April 10, 2009, to the Director of ORR.

In FY 2013, ORR issued 406 Certification Letters to adults and 114 Eligibility Letters to children, for a total of 520 letters issued.

Of the adult victims who received Certification Letters in FY 2013, 70 percent were female and 30 percent were male. Sixty-eight percent of all victims certified in FY 2013 were victims of labor trafficking, approximately 24 percent were sex trafficking victims, and eight percent were victims of both labor and sex trafficking. Females comprised 59 percent of labor trafficking victims, 93 percent of sex trafficking victims, and 94 percent of victims of both labor and sex trafficking.

Of the child victims who received Eligibility Letters in FY 2013, 43 percent were female and 57 percent were male. Over 67 percent of child victims who received Eligibility Letters were labor trafficking victims, 30 percent were sex trafficking victims, and three percent were victims of both labor and sex trafficking.

In FY 2013, ORR provided Certification and Eligibility letters to victims or their representatives in 31 states, D.C., and the Northern Mariana Islands. Certified victims came from 59 countries in the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Europe.

The following chart depicts the top nine countries of origin of adult victims who received Certification Letters in FY 2013:

country of origin number of adult victims who received certification letters percentage of total
Mexico 99 24%
Philippines 77 19%
Guatemala 27 7%
India 25 6%
El Salvador 25 6%
Honduras 17 4%
Thailand 16 4%
South Korea 15 4%
Ethiopia 12 3%

The following chart depicts the top four countries of origin of child victims who received Eligibility Letters in FY 2013:

country of origin number of child victims who received eligibility letters percentage of total
Honduras 43 38%
Guatemala 27 24%
El Salvador 23 20%
Mexico 12 11%

2. Case Management Grantees

ORR has used both contracts and grants to create a network of service organizations available to assist human trafficking victims. In FY 2013, ORR awarded grants to three organizations to provide comprehensive case management and support services to foreign adult and child human trafficking victims, dependent foreign children, and certain family members. ORR awarded grants to the following organizations to provide per-capita services in specific ACF Regions: Heartland Human Care Services (HHCS) (ACF Regions 1, 2, and 59); U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) (ACF Regions 3, 6–1010); and Tapestri, Inc. (ACF Region 411). Through these grants, ORR funded services to help victims gain access to shelter and job training, and provided a mechanism for victims to receive vital emergency services prior to receiving certification.
HHCS, USCRI, and Tapestri provided these services to eligible individuals through sub-awards throughout the country and in U.S. territories. During FY 2013, the three grantees sub-awarded funds to 138 agencies with the capacity to serve in 271 locations (service sites). Eighty-two sub-awards provided services in 79 cities in 38 states. Two of the grantees provided case management services directly to clients.

During FY 2013, 915 individual clients received case management services through all three grants, an increase of 20 percent from those served by the grantees in the previous fiscal year. This number included 207 clients who received services before certification (pre-certified), 282 clients who received services after certification, and 303 family members (spouse, children, or other dependents) who received services. Included in the overall number are 123 clients who received services both before and after certification.

During FY 2013, 80 percent of all clients served by all grantees were adults and 20 percent were children, while 63 percent of clients were female and 37 percent were male.

HHCS, USCRI, and Tapestri also provided training and technical assistance to sub-awards on service provision, case management, trauma-informed care, program management, and immigration relief and protection available for human trafficking victims. Additionally, they provided outreach and additional training to other entities and organizations on human trafficking, HHS certification, and victim services. During FY 2013, the grantees provided training to 1,651 participants and technical assistance on 5,233 occasions to individuals in all the states in their regions. They also provided training and/or technical assistance to individuals in Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

3. Foreign Child Trafficking Victims

a. HHS Service Provision

The TVPRA 2008 made several changes and enhancements to protection and safety assessments for UAC in the United States at the time of apprehension as well as during temporary placement and repatriation. An unaccompanied alien child is defined in Section 462 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Pub. L. No. 107-296 (6 U.S.C. § 279(g)(2)), as a child who is without lawful immigration status and does not have a parent or legal guardian in the United States who is available to provide him or her physical custody and care. The TVPRA 2008 gave the HHS Secretary new authority to provide interim assistance to non-U.S. citizen, non-LPR children (under 18) who may have been subjected to a severe form of human trafficking.

Under 22 U.S.C. § 7105(b)(1)(F), the HHS Secretary has “exclusive authority” to determine whether a child is eligible, on an interim basis, for assistance available under federal law to foreign child human trafficking victims. This provision authorizes the HHS Secretary to make a foreign child in the United States eligible for interim assistance (i.e., the same benefits available to refugee children) when there is credible information that the child may have been subjected to a severe form of human trafficking. Under this provision, HHS provides notification to DOJ and DHS of the interim assistance determination. Interim assistance lasts up to 120 days. During this interim period, the HHS Secretary–after consultation with the Attorney General, the DHS Secretary, and NGOs with expertise on human trafficking victims –is required to determine eligibility for long-term assistance for child human trafficking victims.

UAC who are human trafficking victims may be referred to HHS’ Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM) program, which is funded by ORR and administered by 15 states. The URM program establishes legal responsibility under state law for such children to ensure that they receive the full range of assistance, care, and services currently available to foster children in the state. A legal authority is designated to act in place of the child’s unavailable parent(s), and safe reunification of children with their parents or other appropriate adult relatives is encouraged.  The URM program offers a variety of care levels to meet children’s individual needs: licensed foster care homes, therapeutic group homes, independent living programs, and residential treatment centers. Other services provided include medical care, independent living skills training, educational support, English language training, career/college counseling and training, mental health services, access to legal services for immigration status adjustment assistance, recreational opportunities, support for social integration, and activities that support cultural and religious preservation. The URM program currently serves more than 100 minor human trafficking victims, including 20 trafficked children identified by ORR in 2013 who were placed in the URM foster care program.

In FY 2013, ORR, through the Division of Children’s Services (DCS), funded a network of shelters, group homes, and foster care programs to provide services for UAC. All children placed in ORR care and custody were screened for potential trafficking concerns and assessed for eligibility for benefits, including referral to the URM program, if appropriate. Child trafficking incidents were reported to State Child Protective Services and law enforcement. ORR also considers any trafficking and safety issues in all aspects of individual service planning for UAC.

In FY 2013, ORR DCS awarded the Case Coordination Services contract. Case Coordination started with 27 social workers in 2013. These social workers continued to provide best interest recommendations and services across the United States by interviewing UAC in ORR care and providing independent, child welfare-based recommendations to inform safe release decisions. Case Coordinators interviewed children and their sponsors to ensure children were protected from traffickers and were reunified in a timely manner with family members and sponsors, according to the best interest of the child.

ORR DCS care provider programs continued to receive ongoing training and technical assistance on screening children for human trafficking indicators. ORR DCS provided numerous trainings through onsite presentation for newly approved care providers as well as webinar trainings to the existing national network of care providers. These trainings focused on assessing UAC individual service plans to ensure that proper screening for trafficking is clearly documented in children’s case records. Additionally, programs received revised operating procedures with improved assessment tools to include a document that more clearly defined trafficking with a list of indicators designed to assist in appropriately identifying human trafficking victims.

b. HHS Child Protection Team

Two ATIP Child Protection Specialists provide case coordination for identified, foreign child human trafficking victims and play a key role in facilitating the issuance of all Eligibility Letters and conducting foster care referrals to the URM program, where appropriate. These specialists also provide guidance on special considerations for human trafficking victims placed in URM programs around the country, including safety planning, victims’ rights in criminal prosecutions, referrals to immigration legal services, and emancipation issues. The specialists also provide victim identification and victim care training and technical assistance to ORR shelter staff as well as community-based programs and federal law enforcement.

Through ORR, HHS continued its cooperation with DHS to enable the prompt identification of and assistance to potential child human trafficking victims. In FY 2013, ATIP Child Protection Specialists provided training to DHS ICE and CBP agents in El Paso, Texas, and to ICE victim assistance coordinators and agents in California, Nevada, and in the Seattle, Washington field office on the systems of care and federal benefits available to potential foreign national minor human trafficking victims and the process for requesting eligibility for these benefits. Child Protection Specialists also provided technical assistance to victim assistance coordinators and agents on a case-by-case basis, as they encountered potential foreign nation minor human trafficking victims in their localities.

ATIP Child Protection Specialists use other opportunities to establish linkages with law enforcement, child welfare agencies, and community service providers. During FY 2013, ATIP Child Protection Specialists provided training on (1) the federal definition of human trafficking; (2) overcoming barriers to identifying child victims; (3) accessing benefits and services for victims; and (4) providing specialized care and safety planning for foreign trafficked children at conferences, trainings, and workshops across the country. Through briefings and presentations, ATIP discusses the identification of trafficking concerns in children, policies and procedures on reporting those concerns to ORR, and ORR programs to provide safe placements for unaccompanied child human trafficking victims.

Child Protection Specialists provided in-person training to advocates, attorneys, and service providers in Portland, Oregon and Seattle and Tacoma, Washington. Child Protection Specialists presented at the Rescue and Restore Grantee Meeting, in Washington, D.C.; the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Skills and Enhancement Training, in Jackson, Mississippi; George Washington University’s 2013 Family Empowerment Conference, in Washington, D.C.; and to the University of Richmond Bonner Scholars Program, in Washington, D.C. Child Protection Specialists also provided technical assistance and training to law enforcement officers, victim advocates, attorneys, and service providers on a case-by-case basis. Child Protection Specialist also presented a WebEx (web conferencing) training as part of the Rescue and Restore outreach campaign.

ATIP Child Protection Specialists provided specialized victim identification and victim care training to multidisciplinary teams serving child human trafficking victims identified in the community (i.e., those not in federal custody) on such matters as service to child human trafficking victims and the development and integration of a comprehensive child welfare response to child trafficking in state and regional agency protocols. The Child Protection Specialists provided training on identifying foreign minor human trafficking victims and the eligibility process and presented information related to the ability of eligible children to pursue various programs available to them, as well as the option to repatriate to their country of origin if they choose to pursue such an option.

Child Protection Specialists regularly provide victim identification and victim care training and technical assistance to ORR DCS shelter staff through emails, conference calls, and case staffing. In FY 2013, Child Protection Specialists provided in-person trainings to staff at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Treatment Center in Staunton, Virginia; Morrison staff-secure shelters, foster care, and secure facility and residential alcohol and drug program staff in Portland, Oregon; staff from the Friends of Youth therapeutic secure shelter, Selma R. Carson Home staff secure shelter, YouthCare shelter, Lutheran Community Services Northwest foster care program, and Catholic Community Services foster care program in Tacoma, Washington; staff from the Southwest Key’s Casa Franklin shelter, Casita del Valle shelter, Casa El Paso shelter, and Lutheran Social Services Foster Care, in El Paso, Texas; and other facilities. Child Protection Specialists also provided training to the DCS Federal Field Specialists and Case Coordinators.

c. ORR Associate Director for Child Welfare

ORR’s Associate Director for Child Welfare oversees and promotes child welfare practices in ORR’s child-serving programs, including efforts by ATIP to increase identification of child human trafficking victims and improve capacity to care for UAC. In addition to contributing a child welfare perspective during case consultation with ATIP’s Child Protection Team, in FY 2013 the Associate Director provided technical assistance on issues related to child trafficking to state and nongovernmental agencies at conferences and interagency meetings, and to federal offices as they developed guidance to states addressing domestic trafficking issues. In February 2013, the Associate Director trained new ORR Federal Field Specialists, who oversee the care of UAC in federal custody, on child protection issues, highlighting the importance of careful assessments as well as safety considerations in placement and release decisions for minor human trafficking victims. In August 2013, the Associate Director collaborated with ICE HSI on drafting procedures for conducting forensic interviews with UAC in federal custody.

4. National Human Trafficking Resource Center

In September 2013, ORR awarded a three-year grant to Polaris Project, an anti-trafficking NGO, to operate the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC). The NHTRC is a dedicated national, toll-free, confidential anti-trafficking hotline (1-888-373-7888) that is available by phone, SMS text message, email, and online tip form to respond to requests from anyone, anywhere in the country, in more than 180 languages, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. The NHTRC provides around-the-clock emergency assistance and support; connects individuals in need with referrals for specialized victim services; refers tips to specialized federal, state, and local law enforcement agents; provides technical assistance; and disseminates information and training on human trafficking. The NHTRC Web portal is an online forum for information, resources, and training tools designed to build the capacity of the anti-trafficking field.

In FY 2013, the NHTRC received 29,064 calls, a 37 percent increase from the previous fiscal year. Of the total hotline calls, 80 percent were substantive in nature.

Types of calls to the nhtrc (partial list) number of calls
Crisis Calls 1,343
Tips regarding possible human trafficking 4,393
Requests for victim services referrals 2,408
Requests for general human trafficking information 4,472
Requests for training and technical assistance 714


In FY 2013, the NHTRC received reports of 4,792 unique cases of potential human trafficking. A total of 881 of these cases referenced situations of potential labor trafficking, 3,320 cases referred to potential sex trafficking, 77 cases involved both sex and labor trafficking, and the type of trafficking was not specified by the individual contacting the NHTRC in 514 cases. Cases referencing potential trafficking included the trafficking of foreign nationals, U.S. citizens, and LPRs; adults and children; and males and females. The NHTRC received 2,017 calls directly from human trafficking victims, a 78 percent increase in the number of calls from victims compared with FY 2012.

During FY 2013, the NHTRC received calls, emails, text messages and online reports from all 50 states, D.C., Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and 33 foreign countries. The top five states with the highest call volume were (in order by highest volume): California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Ohio, which together comprised 40 percent of the calls in which the caller’s state was known.

The NHTRC fielded nearly 88 percent of substantive calls in English, nearly 11 percent of calls in Spanish, and just over one percent of calls in 33 other languages. The top ten caller languages other than English and Spanish were (in order by highest volume): Mandarin Chinese, French, Russian, Sinhala, Cantonese Chinese, Portuguese, Tagalog, Thai, Turkish, and Bengali. Spanish-, French-, and Bengali-speaking callers spoke directly with bilingual NHTRC Call Specialists, and in just under six percent of calls the NHTRC Call Specialists communicated with callers in other languages through a private interpreting service, Certified Languages International.

In FY 2013, more than 35 percent of the total substantive calls placed to the NHTRC required follow-up after the call had ended. One of the NHTRC’s central functions is to facilitate timely reports and referrals to appropriate law enforcement and social services entities. A total of 1,248 potential human trafficking cases resulted in a direct report to law enforcement, which included members of DOJ Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA) Human Trafficking Task Forces, DOJ’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, the FBI Civil Rights Division, ICE HSI, law enforcement partners within the ACTeams, the FBI Innocence Lost Task Forces, and law enforcement agents assigned to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), as well as state and local law enforcement and task forces. The NHTRC also reported cases to contacts within DOL Wage and Hour Division, DOL Office of the Inspector General, DOS Diplomatic Security Service, DOS Office of the Inspector General, and the Department of Defense. In 7,852 cases, the NHTRC provided individuals in need with referrals for social services for human trafficking victims, the most common of which included emergency and transitional shelter, comprehensive case management, legal services, mental health, and transportation assistance.

The NHTRC also receives tips and inquiries through email, text, and an online reporting form accessed from the NHTRC web portal. In FY 2013, the NHTRC received 1,287 emails, which included tips regarding potential trafficking (15 percent of the emails), requests for general information (39 percent), requests for training and technical assistance (18 percent), and requests for victim services referrals (five percent). After launching SMS text messaging in March 2013, the NHTRC engaged in 451 text message conversations, of which 23 percent referenced potential cases of human trafficking. The NHTRC also received 1,638 submissions through the web portal’s tip reporting system, 66 percent of which referenced potential cases of human trafficking.

In FY 2013, the NHTRC web portal received 1,334,218 unique page views. The most visited NHTRC pages were the Human Trafficking Overview (121,188 unique views) and Sex Trafficking in the United States (127,654 views). During this period, the highest visitor rates for all pages were from California, Texas, New York, D.C., and Virginia.

By the end of FY 2013, the NHTRC had received information regarding the outcomes of 881 cases of potential human trafficking. Of these 881 cases, investigations were opened in 499 cases. In 99 cases, potential victims were located, removed from the situation, and/or provided with services; and in at least 15 cases, potential traffickers were located, charged with a crime, and/or arrested. The NHTRC often learns of case outcomes several months after the case has been reported, and in many cases outcomes are received the following fiscal year.

The following are examples of cases that resulted in the successful recovery of victims and in the investigation and/or arrest of the potential traffickers:

The NHTRC hotline received a report regarding two adult female foreign national domestic workers who were experiencing abusive work conditions, including constant monitoring by their employer, reduced wages, and verbal mistreatment. The women were fearful and sought assistance to leave their situation immediately. With the workers’ permission, the NHTRC coordinated with federal law enforcement and victim services to plan an extraction. The two women are out of the situation and working with a service provider. They are currently awaiting word on their T visa applications. There is also an ongoing investigation against the employer.


On December 7, 2012, authorities in Madison County, Alabama arrested five individuals involved in a sex-trafficking operation working out of a local hotel. Madison County Police, the FBI, and members of the Madison County Narcotics Unit set up surveillance of the location after receiving a tip from the NHTRC about an underage female who was being forced to engage in commercial sex. All five suspects were charged with first-degree human trafficking.

In FY 2013, the NHTRC communicated with a woman via text message who had been trafficked for commercial sex since she was a minor and was seeking help to get away from her pimp. Through texting, the NHTRC conducted a safety assessment and helped the woman create a plan for leaving. With the woman’s permission, the NHTRC worked with law enforcement partners to help her leave and report her pimp. The pimp was later arrested and charged with human trafficking, and the woman was successfully connected to local services and safe shelter.

5. Demonstration Project

In FY 2013, the HHS Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation awarded continuation grants to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the International Rescue Committee to conduct demonstration projects to examine whether engaging pre-certified foreign national human trafficking victims in enhanced employment services can improve self-sufficiency outcomes.

Benefits and Services to U.S. Citizen and LPR Victims of Human Trafficking

The TVPA designated the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General, in consultation with DOL, to establish specialized programs and use existing programs to assist U.S. citizens and LPRs who are victims of severe forms of trafficking. 22 U.S.C. § 7105(f).
Although funds were not appropriated to establish specialized programs for U.S. citizen and LPR victims in FY 2013, ACF established an ACF-wide Anti-Trafficking Initiatives Work Group to strengthen integration and coordination of anti-trafficking activities with existing programs and services that may intersect with human trafficking victims, including the child welfare system, runaway and homeless youth programs, family violence prevention services, and the Administration for Native Americans.

1. Intra-Agency Coordination and Collaboration on Benefits and Services to Victims

In September 2013, ACF released new Guidance to States and Services on Addressing Human Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United States, particularly for child welfare systems and runaway and homeless youth programs. The Guidance provides an introduction to child sex trafficking and labor trafficking; outlines the needs of victims and importance of coordination, screening, and assessment; and provides recommendations for systems and providers in providing shelter and services to victims, along with additional resources to strengthen identification and victim services.

Earlier in the year, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius spotlighted the intersection between human trafficking and child welfare at a symposium on child trafficking at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and ACF Acting Assistant Secretary George Sheldon noted the importance of engaging child welfare and runaway and homeless youth programs at a national colloquium on shelter and service needs of domestic child human trafficking victims, co-hosted by Shared Hope International, the Protection Project, and ECPAT-USA, in Washington, D.C.
In FY 2013, the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) within ACF awarded approximately $37.6 million through the Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) Program, which included explicit language enabling RHY-eligible persons who are also human trafficking victims to be served through the 205 Transitional Living Programs and Maternity group Homes that provide transitional shelter for up to 21 months, 321 Basic Center Programs that provide short-term crisis shelter for up to 21 days, and 138 Street Outreach Programs providing street-based services.

2. Public-Private Partnerships on Benefits and Services to Victims

In FY 2013, ACF partnered with DOJ, HUD, and Humanity United in the Partnership for Freedom, which announced the “Reimagine: Opportunity” challenge competition in September to spur new ideas for sustainable housing, economic self-sufficiency, and comprehensive social services for survivors of all forms of human trafficking, including U.S. citizens and LPRs.

Training, Outreach, and Public Awareness Efforts

1. ACF – Immediate Office of the Assistant Secretary

The Assistant Secretary at ACF announced a new initiative to enhance the health care system’s response to human trafficking at the 2013 annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in September. ACF and the HHS Office of Women’s Health will be piloting targeted training for health providers on human trafficking, informed by federal interagency partners, community stakeholders, and a national technical working group comprising medical and health professionals, survivors, researchers, and service organizations.

ACF participated in multiple meetings with stakeholder organizations representing survivors of human trafficking, service providers, researchers, advocates, state and local governmental organizations, and the general public. FY 2013 engagement efforts included an international conference on the challenges of contemporary slavery at Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition; a research convening on counter-trafficking data, technology, and tools at the McCain Institute for International Leadership (Washington, D.C.); a presentation on the health impact of human trafficking at the University of Washington; a conference on multi-system approaches to child sex trafficking at the Georgetown University Law Center; a convening of the Innovative Catholic Women Religious Leaders Fighting Human Trafficking (Washington, D.C.); the 11th annual Freedom Network conference (Arlington, Virginia); the national ACF Hispanic Roundtable (Washington, D.C.); an international summit of Students Opposing Slavery at President Lincoln’s Cottage (Washington, D.C.); a national colloquium on evaluating shelter and service responses to child sex trafficking; a U.S. Commission on Civil Rights committee briefing on human trafficking impacting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in the District of Columbia; and a tribal consultation in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Administration for Native Americans.

2. ACF – Office of Refugee Resettlement

In addition to the presentations and trainings by ORR Child Protection Specialists previously described, in FY 2013, ORR’s Anti-Trafficking in Persons (ATIP) division offered training and technical assistance to state officials, law enforcement and criminal justice administrators, social service providers, ethnic organizations, students and academics, policy makers, and legal assistance organizations, among others. Examples include the following:

  • Presentations to the following audiences:
    • ACF Region II Training Institute on Human Trafficking
    • University of Richmond Bonner Scholars
    • Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority at its Founders Day event
    • Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Texas Regional Conference
    • Anti-Human Trafficking Symposium, hosted by Georgetown University and Deloitte
    • Freedom Network 11th Annual Conference
    • ICE HSI and/or FBI agents and victim specialists in New York City (Manhattan), New York and Houston, Texas
  • The Director of ORR presented on “Human Trafficking in the 21st Century” at a meeting of the Jefferson Educational Society in Erie, Pennsylvania.
  • ATIP staff continued to provide information and technical assistance by phone and email to service providers, law enforcement, and immigration attorneys on an ad hoc basis.
  • ATIP conducted three WebEx trainings on topics related to human trafficking. More than 135 people participated in a presentation by the IOM on “Returning Home, Reintegration and Family Reunification for Foreign Victims of the Trafficking in the United States.” About 130 people participated in the Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center’s training on “Justice for Trafficking Victims: Civil Suits Against Traffickers.” At least 175 people participated in a presentation by ATIP Child Protection Specialists on “Assisting Foreign Child Trafficking Victims.” The principal participants were social service providers and state and county officials.
  • ATIP hosted an Anti-Trafficking in Persons Program training for its grantees on January 28 and 29, 2013, during which its grantees received information from several ACF Program Offices and federal law enforcement offices, and had opportunities to discuss challenges encountered and lessons learned during grant project implementation. It also hosted an in-person and teleconference meeting to solicit input from grantees and other stakeholders regarding ATIP’s public awareness and outreach efforts, including its free public awareness posters, brochures, and other materials.
  • Through the NHTRC and its Rescue & Restore Regional Program grantees, ORR expanded training opportunities throughout the country. During FY 2013, the NHTRC conducted 112 trainings/presentations, 72 phone consultations, eight material reviews, and nine intensive on-site consultations to a total audience of 9,084 people, consisting of service providers in the anti-trafficking and related fields, local and federal law enforcement, governmental officials, child welfare and juvenile justice professionals, health professionals, coalitions and task forces, community groups, faith-based organizations, educators, students, businesses, and others. The most frequently requested topic across all audiences was an introductory overview of human trafficking. Other high-interest topics included victim identification and assistance, coalition and task force creation, capacity-building, building local infrastructure and response protocols, local needs assessments, and NHTRC operations and data collection. The NHTRC also created eight online trainings that are available on its website and sent 12 monthly newsletters on trafficking issues to its listserv of 13,644 members.
  • HHS continued the HHS Anti-Trafficking in Persons In-Reach Campaign in FY 2013 to educate the HHS community on the issue of human trafficking and to increase HHS’ agency-wide response to human trafficking. ATIP staff briefed the HHS Violence Against Women Steering Committee on human trafficking and HHS’ role under the TVPA in identifying and assisting victims, and gave a webinar to Non-Emergency State Coordinators for the Repatriation Program that was hosted by International Social Service-USA. ATIP hosted three viewings of the film “Not My Life” for HHS headquarters, agency, and regional staff, which were followed by periods for discussion and questions, such as on human trafficking indicators.
  • In FY 2013, ACF continued the ACF Regional Capacity Campaign, which began in FY 2010. The Regional Capacity Campaign furthered the establishment of a partnership between the ten HHS Regional Offices and the ATIP regional anti-trafficking grantees, other Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking voluntary coalitions, and DOJ trafficking crime victim service providers. The ATIP Division provided ongoing support for these efforts, including presentations to several ACF Regional Offices. ATIP also provided updated resource documents to ACF’s Regional Offices that feature information on regional and national trafficking-specific grants from HHS/ACF and DOJ OVC, and local Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking coalitions, if present in the region. ATIP also provided them a list of NHTRC staff with regional roles.

Outreach and public awareness efforts of the ATIP Division within ORR included the Campaign to Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking, which entered its tenth year in FY 2013 through the continuing efforts of Rescue & Restore coalitions consisting of volunteers and dedicated social service providers, local governmental officials, health care professionals, leaders of faith-based and ethnic organizations, and law enforcement personnel. The coalitions’ goal is to increase the number of foreign national human trafficking victims who are identified, assisted in leaving the circumstances of their servitude, and connected to qualified service agencies and to the HHS certification process so that they can receive the benefits and services for which they may be eligible.

Along with identifying and assisting victims, coalition members can use the Rescue & Restore campaign messages to educate the general public about human trafficking. In FY 2013, ORR distributed approximately 747,741 pieces of original, branded Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking public awareness campaign materials publicizing the NHTRC. These materials included posters, brochures, fact sheets, and cards with tips on identifying victims in eight languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Indonesian, Korean, Russian, Thai, and Vietnamese. The materials can be viewed and ordered at no cost on the HHS website.

In FY 2013, ORR continued to promote local responsibility for anti-trafficking efforts through the Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking Regional Program. The program employed an intermediary model to conduct public awareness, outreach, and identification activities for human trafficking victims. The program grants reinforced and were strengthened by other ATIP program activities, including the victim services program, the national public awareness campaign, the NHTRC, and voluntary Rescue & Restore coalitions.

These regional grants are intended to create anti-trafficking networks and bring more advocates and service providers into the Rescue & Restore anti-trafficking movement. (Rescue & Restore Regional Program grants for FY 2013 are listed below.) To this end, HHS requires Rescue & Restore Regional Program grantees to sub-award at least 60 percent of grant funds to existing programs of direct outreach and services to populations among which human trafficking victims could be found in order to support and expand these programs’ capacities to identify, serve, and seek certification for human trafficking victims in their communities.

Rescue & Restore Regional Program grantees work with victims of any nationality, so the numbers of suspected and confirmed victims they assist include U.S. citizens and foreign nationals. In FY 2013, program grantees made initial contact with 1,018 victims or suspected victims, including 464 foreign nationals and 542 U.S. citizens. (There were 12 potential victims whose citizenship was unknown.) Of the 464 foreign nationals, 80 were referred to law enforcement for possible case investigations and 52 received ORR certification. Additionally, 36 foreign victims with whom Rescue & Restore Regional grantees interacted received ORR certification during FY 2013.

Examples of the work of HHS’ Rescue & Restore Regional Program grantees and their sub-recipients in FY 2013 include the following:

  • In January 2013, a Good Samaritan observed the exploitation of a hotel housekeeper while staying at a motel in Colorado. An attorney friend of his placed him in touch with Colorado Legal Services (CLS). CLS coordinated emergency and long-term social services referrals, and helped the worker report the forced labor, coordinating with professionals from the local police department and sheriff’s office, ICE HSI, and the FBI. An investigation is pending and the individual is now in a safe location and has received ORR certification.
  • The Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA) conducted a survey of local professionals who may come into contact with labor human trafficking victims. The survey intended to highlight the local prevalence of labor trafficking in addition to sex trafficking, and results indicated that many agencies encounter labor trafficking and sex trafficking but many have not identified or assisted victims of labor trafficking. In response to the survey’s findings, SETA and Opening Doors hosted a training on the legal aspects of labor exploitation and labor trafficking. Representatives attended from local offices of the EEOC, DOL/WHD, USAO, California Agricultural Relations Board, UC Davis Immigration Clinic, Mexican Consulate, immigration law offices, and service providers. Participants agreed to create a network to continue the discussion, as it was recognized that labor trafficking is occurring especially among migrant and seasonal workers.
  • Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition (HRRC) established a direct outreach program to the large day-laborer population that exists throughout the Houston community to promote prevention and awareness of human trafficking. HRRC partnered with Fe y Justicia Worker Center to connect individuals who may have experienced labor violations with services, and to provide information to those in a vulnerable position to help prevent them from falling victim to trafficking, empower potential victims to call the NHTRC hotline, or encourage them to report a credible tip to Direct Outreach volunteers.
  • Healing Place Serve in Baton Rouge partnered with Department of Children and Family Services staff to identify and meet with potential victims within the foster care system. This relationship has been instrumental in identifying several potential human trafficking victims in foster care, and has provided additional training opportunities for the foster care system in other parishes.
  • The International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Seattle collaborated with county officials to put human trafficking awareness placards on over 200 local buses. Rather than use sensational images that often alienate the victims they are meant to reach, IRC helped develop images and messages reflective of victims’ experiences of trafficking in Washington state and ensured the placards were printed in a variety of languages. During the months the bus placards were posted, calls to the NHTRC from King County increased by 131 percent over the number of calls during the six-month period before the campaign began.

Rescue & Restore Regional Program Grants in FY 2013:

  • Colorado Legal Services (Denver, Colorado)
  • Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission (Fresno, California)
  • Healing Place Serve (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
  • Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition (Houston, Texas)
  • International Institute of St. Louis (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • International Rescue Committee (Seattle, Washington)
  • Mosaic Family Services (Dallas, Texas)
  • Pacific Gateway Center (Honolulu, Hawaii)
  • Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (Sacramento, California)
  • Safe Horizon, Inc. (New York, New York)
  • The SAGE Project, Inc. (San Francisco, California)

3. ACF–Family Youth Services Bureau: Runaway and Homeless Youth Program

In FY 2013, FYSB provided a supplemental grant to the Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center (RHYTTAC), operated by National Safe Place, to strengthen training and technical assistance to more than 400 runaway and homeless youth grantees to enhance their work with survivors of human trafficking, including the identification of victims, provision of appropriate and trauma-informed services, and expansion of network of services.

RHYTTAC provided direct training through six institute events, three webinars, and a five course e-learning module on human trafficking. RHYTTAC collaborated with Polaris Project to continue to promote and offer five of their e-learning courses on the RHYTTAC E-Learning Site: (1) Creating a Community Response to Human Trafficking; (2) Intro to Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery; (3) Intro to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center; (4) Working with Foreign National Victims of Human Trafficking; and (5) Human Trafficking and Runaway and Homeless Youth.
In FY 2013, additional training on human trafficking was provided through the annual National Runaway and Homeless Youth Grantee Conference held in November 2012 in Indianapolis. Workshop sessions included:

  • A Community’s Response to CSEC: This workshop looked at the issue of commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC) in a large metropolitan area. Participants received information on the extent of the problem, how youth are recruited into sexual exploitation, the impact of serving this population in a basic center program and the potential safety concerns, and the development of long-term services to assist youth in getting out of a life of sexual exploitation. Participants also received information on the broader community response and essential partnerships with other service providers (FBI/police, sexual assault agencies, child welfare, hospitals, and mental health programs) to develop a comprehensive, coordinated system of care.
  • Effective Street Outreach Strategies with Commercially Sexually Exploited Youth: This workshop provided participants with new research on effective strategies for conducting street outreach with the sexually exploited youth population as well as what Minnesota is doing with its recently passed Safe Harbor law.


4. ACF–Family Youth Services Bureau: Family Violence Prevention Services

The Family Violence Prevention and Services Program (FVPSA) supports training, services, and advocacy for both domestic and foreign human trafficking victims who come in contact with domestic violence programs through 1,600 shelters, 1,100 non-residential service sites, 56 state and territorial coalitions, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

In FY 2013, nearly half (27 of 56) of state and territorial domestic violence coalitions worked to build the capacity of their member programs to serve human trafficking victims through training, technical assistance, and advocacy. Some examples of this work include:

  • The Kansas State Domestic Violence Coalition led trainings for state law enforcement on responding to human trafficking victims.
  • The Arizona State Domestic Violence Coalition revised its program, Service Standards, to include best practices for accommodating the unique needs of human trafficking victims. These Service Standards guide the operation of the state’s member programs, which are primary-purpose victim-service providers.
  • The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance developed a day-long training for its member programs, which represent both sexual assault and domestic violence service providers throughout the state, to improve advocates’ awareness of how to make services more accessible to human trafficking victims.
  • The Ohio Domestic Violence Network assisted the Ohio State Attorney General’s office in providing training on serving trafficked persons for the Victim Assistance Academy and participated in the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Commission. The TIP Commission is monitoring the implementation of legislation that decriminalized trafficking for minor victims and enhanced penalties for traffickers and is also working on training for law enforcement and other service providers.
  • FVPSA’s national resource center for the Asian and Pacific Islander community, the Asian Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence (APIIDV), conducted training for 588 individuals on the issue of human trafficking for national and statewide audiences, ranging from two-hour workshops to two-day training institutes. Trainings were conducted for, or in partnership with: Futures Without Violence, two-day training, March 2013; Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, statewide workshop, October 2012; New Mexico Asian Family Services, statewide training, August 2013, and FVPSA State Administrators and Coalition Directors, national training, May 2013.
  • Complementing these trainings are technical assistance briefs published by APIIDV, covering topics such as the health needs of human trafficking victims and approaches for domestic violence advocates in serving trafficked women and girls, which are available for download on their website. Services Available to Victims of Human Trafficking: A Resource Guide for Social Service Providers received more than 600 unique downloads in 2013, from individual and organizations across the United States and globally.
  • APIIDV organized a National Summit in San Francisco, California on June 30 to July 2, 2013, which featured panels and workshops covering human trafficking and related issues. One of the workshops focused on survivor-centered approaches to combating trafficking.
  • In July 2013, APIIDV updated a technical assistance brief on human trafficking, Considerations and Recommendations for Battered Women’s Advocates, that examines the data behind what we know about human trafficking and offers an analysis of how the culture of violence against women plays a significant role in victimizing women and girls (similar to risk factors for domestic violence). This brief helps domestic violence programs navigate the implications of serving trafficked women, with regards to arrest, custody and release, legal representation and investigation, endangerment and confidentiality, shelter, medical records and care, and complex trauma. It explains how human trafficking is fueled by demands for cheap, exploitable labor and the impunity of male demands for commercial sex.


5. ACF–Children’s Bureau

In FY 2013, the Children’s Bureau provided information on human trafficking through the Child Welfare Information Gateway (CWIG). CWIG continues to feature Responding to Human Trafficking on its website. The Children’s Bureau Express article in the July/August 2013 issue highlighted the federal government’s efforts against trafficking and technical assistance for combating human trafficking.

In FY 2013, the Children’s Bureau provided training on human trafficking through the National Resource Center on Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC), a member of the Children’s Bureau Training and Technical Assistance Network. NRCPFC provided child welfare professionals and other interested parties a webpage dedicated to Trafficked and Exploited Children and Youth. NRCPFC organized a peer-to-peer webinar on September 9, 2013 on the Child Welfare Response to Trafficking for the National Association of State Foster Care Managers. The webinar featured presentations from New York and Tennessee that addressed child welfare system responses to trafficking in those states. New York’s presentation provided information regarding the State of New York’s definition of trafficking, relevant state law, and the intersection between child welfare and trafficking. Presenters from New York discussed child welfare system protocol for responding to trafficking, Office of Children and Family Services efforts to address trafficking, and the Safe Harbor Project. Tennessee’s presentation focused on the collaborative process employed to develop the Tennessee Department of Human Services Human Trafficking Services Coordination and Service Delivery Plan. The presentation also shared the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) and Department of Human Services (DHS) approaches for ensuring that comprehensive services are provided to children, youth, individuals, and families. Presenters from each State discussed lessons learned, challenges, possible solutions, and recommendations.

In FY 2013, the Children’s Bureau also provided training on human trafficking through the National Resource Center for Child Protective Services (NRCCPS), another member of the Children’s Bureau Training and Technical Assistance Network. NRCCPS provided information on human trafficking in the Fall 2012 Children’s Justice Act Newsletter. The feature covered the NCMEC and legal resources on child sexual exploitation cases; the Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center; research and statistics concerning runaway youth; and resources and education on sex-trafficked youth. NRCCPS provided information on human trafficking in the June 2013 and January 2014 State Liaison Officer Newsletters and in the Spring/Summer 2013 Children’s Justice Act newsletter. 

6. ACF–Office of Regional Operations

The ACF Office of Regional Operations (ORO) has ten regional offices that engaged with stakeholders throughout FY 2013. Examples of trafficking-related activities include the following:

  • Region 1 (headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts) participated in a regional anti-trafficking working group hosted by DHS.
  • Region 2 (New York, New York) participated in the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking meetings and presented at the Stronger Families New York Coalition meeting.
  • Region 3 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) engaged with the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Faith-Based Initiatives and the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity to discuss human trafficking in Philadelphia.
  • Region 4 (Atlanta, Georgia) hosted community forums on human trafficking to inform the Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking and child trafficking guidance.
  • Region 5 (Chicago, Illinois) participated in monthly calls and two in-person roundtable discussions on human trafficking. Participants discussed housing and gaps in program services for survivors of labor and sex trafficking. The Chicago regional office conducted a training on commercial sexual exploitation of children. Participants included the Mexican Consulate, NGOs, and federal partners.
  • Region 6 (Dallas, Texas) hosted community forums on human trafficking.
  • Region 7 (Kansas City, Missouri) hosted a human-trafficking roundtable for child welfare staff with representatives from Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas sharing current state efforts on human trafficking.
  • Region 8 (Denver, Colorado) coordinated and facilitated a training for stakeholders in the Four Corners tourism and agriculture regions of the country in Durango, Colorado.
  • Region 9 (San Francisco, California) collaborated with the Children’s Bureau Training and Technical Coordination Center to provide training on child trafficking and hosted a community forum on human trafficking.
  • Region 10 (Seattle, Washington) collaborated with Region 9 to conduct a listening session on the Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking and participated in several community working groups on human trafficking. The regional office also engaged in collaborative efforts with the City of Seattle’s human trafficking efforts.

7. ACF – Office of Public Affairs

The ACF Office of Public Affairs strengthened its online and social media activity to increase awareness about human trafficking, including 17 blog posts on the Family Room Blog and Twitter and Facebook posts.

HHS’ international training and outreach efforts during FY 2013 included the following:

In FY 2013, ACF participated in a bilateral high-level workshop on cutting-edge innovation and strategic challenges in the fight against human trafficking, organized by DOS and the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington, D.C., which involved participation from other federal agencies and NGOs.

ACF’s ORR hosted nine briefings for international visitors sponsored by DOS’ International Visitor Leadership Program. Law enforcement officers, prosecutors, nongovernmental leaders, representatives from government ministries, immigration officers, community organizations, and anti-trafficking leaders from 45 countries received briefings from ORR’s ATIP Division on HHS’ efforts to combat human trafficking and assist victims in the United States.

HHS continued to collaborate with DOS’ Know Your Rights pamphlet outreach activities through the NHTRC. In FY 2013, callers from 912 calls to the NHTRC were identified as having learned of the NHTRC hotline number through the “Know Your Rights” pamphlet. Of those calls, 15 percent involved reports of potential human trafficking, crisis situations, or requests for victim services referrals. The Know Your Rights brochure yielded the third highest volume of calls after “Internet-Web Search” and “Referral” among callers who identified how they learned about the hotline.

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