FY 2014 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 2014 Report are available below. Read the full FY 2014 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

1. Increased Capacity and Leadership on Trafficking in Persons

ACF serves as the lead HHS agency to combat human trafficking and modern forms of slavery by administering anti-trafficking programs through grants and contracts and collaborating with federal, state, tribal, and local governmental and nongovernmental organizations. In FY 2014, ACF continued to operate the Anti-Trafficking Initiatives Working Group across multiple human service programs, including the Immediate Office of the Assistant Secretary; Children’s Bureau; Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB); ANA; ORR; Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE); Office of Regional Operations; Office of Public Affairs; Office of Community Services; Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response; and anti-trafficking liaisons in each of ACF’s ten regional offices.

In FY 2014, HHS continued to convene a department-wide working group on human trafficking to strengthen the bridge between health and human service responses to human trafficking, including participation from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. One of the major initiatives of the HHS working group was to pilot targeted training for health care providers on the scope, indicators, and trauma-informed practices related to serving victims of human trafficking.

2. Benefits and Services to Foreign National Victims of Human Trafficking

The TVPA designated HHS as the agency responsible for helping foreign trafficking victims become eligible to receive benefits and services so they can rebuild their lives safely in the United States. The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division (ATIP) in 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 (CP) or made a bona fide application for a T Visa that was not denied; (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 victims of trafficking through a network of service providers across the United States; and (4) builds capacity nationally through training and technical assistance and operation of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) (see Part IV.A.2.d below).

a. Certifications and Letters of Eligibility

Section 107(b)(1)(E) of the TVPA, as amended, states that the Secretary of HHS, after consultation with the Attorney General and 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 INA that has not been denied; or is a person whose continued presence in the United States the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security are ensuring in order to facilitate prosecutions. 22 U.S.C. 7105(b)(1)(E).

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 can issue an “Interim Assistance Letter” providing the child interim eligibility for benefits and services for up to 90 days, during which time HHS will determine the child’s eligibility for long-term assistance.

On March 28, 2001, the HHS Secretary delegated the authority to conduct human trafficking victim certification activities to the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, who in turn re-delegated this authority to the Director of ORR. On March 23, 2009, the HHS Secretary delegated the authority to provide interim assistance to potential child trafficking victims to the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, who further delegated this authority to the Director of ORR in April 2009.

In FY 2014, ORR issued 530 Certification Letters to adults and 219 Eligibility Letters to children, for a total of 749 letters issued (see the chart below).

Fiscal year number of eligibility letters issued to children number of certification letters issued to adults total letters issued
2001 4 194 198
2002 18 81 99
2003 6 145 151
2004 16 147 163
2005 34 197 231
2006 20 214 234
2007 33 270 303
2008 31 286 317
2009 50 330 380
2010 92 449 541
2011 101 463 564
2012 103 366 469
2013 114 406 520
2014 219 530 749
TOTAL 841 4,078 4,919


Of the adult victims who received Certification Letters in FY 2014, 69 percent were female (compared to 70 percent in FY 2013) and 31 percent were male. Seventy-four percent of all victims certified in FY 2014 were victims of labor trafficking, approximately 19 percent were sex trafficking victims, and seven percent were victims of both labor and sex trafficking. Females comprised 59 percent of labor trafficking victims, 98 percent of sex trafficking victims, and 97 percent of victims of both labor and sex trafficking.

Of the child victims who received Eligibility Letters in FY 2014, 40 percent were female (compared with 43 percent in FY 2013) and 60 percent were male. Over 66 percent of child victims who received Eligibility Letters were labor trafficking victims (down from 67 percent in FY 2013), 31 percent were sex trafficking victims (compared with 30 percent in FY 2013), and three percent were victims of both labor and sex trafficking, which is the same percentage as in FY 2013.

In FY 2014, Certification and Eligibility letters were provided to victims or their representatives in 38 states, Washington, D.C., and the Northern Mariana Islands. Certified victims came from 58 countries in the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Europe.

The following chart depicts the top five countries of origin of adult victims who received Certification Letters in FY 2014:

country of origin number of adult victims who received certification letters percentage of total
Philippines 166 31%
Mexico 109 21%
Honduras 33 6%
Guatemala 24 5%
China 20 4%

The following chart depicts the top four countries of origin of child victims who received Eligibility Letters in FY 2014:

country of origin number of child victims who received eligibility letters percentage of total
Mexico 89 41%
Guatemala 55 25%
El Salvador 34 16%
Honduras 29 13%

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 federally funded 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. Nevertheless, 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 they choose to cooperate with law enforcement and receive the benefits available to them under the TVPA.

b. 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 2014, ORR awarded grants to three organizations to provide comprehensive case management and support services to foreign adult and child human trafficking victims, their 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 56), U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) (ACF Regions 3, 6–107), and Tapestri, Inc. (ACF Region 48).

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. territorial possessions. During FY 2014, the three grantees sub-awarded funds to 153 agencies with the capacity to serve in 290 locations (service sites). Eighty-three sub-awards provided services in 67 cities in 40 states. Two of the grantees provided case management services directly to clients.

During FY 2014, a total of 1,137 individual clients received case management services through all three grants, an increase of 24 percent from those served by the grantees in the previous year. This number includes nine clients who were served by two case management grantees because the clients transferred from one grantee to another grantee. This number included 362 clients who received services before certification (pre-certified), 359 clients who received services after certification, and 289 family members (spouse, children, or other dependents) who received services. (Included in the overall number are 127 clients who received services both before and after certification.) During FY 2014, 81 percent of all clients served by all grantees were adults and 19 percent were children, while 62 percent of the clients were female and 38 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 victims of trafficking. Additionally, the organizations provided outreach and additional training to other entities and organizations on human trafficking, HHS certification, and victim services. During FY 2014, the grantees provided training to 1,798 participants and technical assistance on 4,895 occasions to individuals in all the states in their regions. They also provided training or technical assistance to individuals in Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands.

c. Foreign Child Trafficking Victims

i. HHS Service Provision

The TVPRA 2008 made several changes and enhancements to protection and safety assessments for unaccompanied alien children (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 also gave the HHS Secretary new authority to provide interim assistance to non-U.S. citizen, non-LPR children (under age 18) who may have been subjected to a severe form of human trafficking.

Under section 22 U.S.C. § 7105(b)(1)(G), 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 victims of trafficking. 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 could last up to 120 days. During this interim period, the HHS Secretary, after consultation with the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and NGOs with expertise on victims of trafficking, is required to determine eligibility for long-term assistance for child victims of trafficking.

UAC who are victims of trafficking 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 and 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 served 113 minor victims of trafficking in FY 2014, including 22 children identified and placed by ORR into the URM program.

In FY 2014, ORR Division of Children’s Services (DCS) continued to provide services to UAC through its case coordination services contract. Case coordination between 2013 and 2014 was expanded to increase the number of social workers to from 27 to 67. 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 that children were protected from traffickers and were timely reunified 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 human trafficking with a list of indicators designed to assist in appropriately identifying victims of trafficking.

ii. HHS Child Protection Team

Two ATIP child protection specialists facilitate the issuance of all Interim Assistance and Eligibility Letters and provide case coordination for identified foreign child-trafficking victims. These specialists also provide guidance on special considerations for human trafficking victims, including interview techniques, safety planning, and URM foster care referrals when appropriate. These ATIP specialists also provide training and technical assistance to ORR DCS staff and shelter providers, community-based programs, child welfare agencies, and federal and local law enforcement.

In FY 2014, child protection specialists regularly provided training and technical assistance to ORR DCS shelter staff through emails, case staffings, and conference calls. In FY 2014, these ATIP specialists provided in-person trainings to UAC care facility staff around the United States, including in Dobbs Ferry, New York; Baltimore, Maryland; and Bristow, Virginia. Child protection specialists also provided training to the DCS federal field specialists and case coordinators.

During FY 2014, child protection specialists facilitated trainings with advocates, attorneys, and service providers in various cities throughout the United States. The trainings covered the federal definition of human trafficking, overcoming barriers to identifying child victims, accessing benefits and services for victims, and providing specialized care and safety planning for foreign trafficked children. In addition, ATIP specialists provided specialized victim identification and victim care technical assistance to multidisciplinary teams serving child trafficking victims identified in the community (i.e., child victims not in federal custody).

Through ORR, HHS continued its cooperation with DHS to enable prompt identification of and assistance to potential child trafficking victims. In FY 2014, ATIP child protection specialists conducted a WebEx training for FBI victim specialists and other FBI personnel on ATIP programs, child trafficking reporting requirements, and assistance available to foreign child victims of trafficking. Child protection specialists also provided technical assistance to federal victim assistance coordinators and agents on a case-by-case basis when they encountered potential foreign-nation minor human trafficking victims in their localities.

iii. ORR’s 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 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 2014, 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.

Throughout 2014, in orientation meetings with ORR new staff, including federal field specialists who oversee the care of UAC in federal custody, the Associate Director highlighted the importance of child protection issues, careful assessments, and safety considerations in placement and release decisions for minor victims of trafficking. In the fall of 2014, the Associate Director collaborated with the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center (HSTC), providing information about ORR’s UAC policies and procedures for assessing, identifying, and requesting benefits for minor victims of trafficking in federal custody.

d. National Human Trafficking Resource Center

In September 2013, ORR awarded a three-year grant to Polaris, an anti-trafficking NGO, to operate the 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 200 languages, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. The NHTRC provides round-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 2014, the NHTRC received 34,361 calls, an 18 percent increase from the previous fiscal year. Of the total hotline calls, 76 percent were substantive in nature (i.e., not hang-up, wrong number, or missed calls).

Types of calls to the nhtrc (partial list) number of calls
Crisis Calls 1,431
Tips regarding possible human trafficking 4,840
Requests for victim services referrals 3,197
Requests for general human trafficking information 4,423
Requests for training and technical assistance 798

In FY 2014, the NHTRC received reports of 5,152 unique cases of potential trafficking. A total of 839 of these cases referenced situations of potential labor trafficking, 3,652 cases referred to potential sex trafficking, 190 cases involved both sex and labor trafficking, and in 471 cases, the type of trafficking was not specified by the individual contacting the NHTRC. Cases referencing potential trafficking included the trafficking of foreign nationals, U.S. citizens, and LPR; adults and children; and males and females. The NHTRC received 2,602 calls directly from victims of human trafficking, a 29 percent increase in the number of calls from victims compared with FY 2013.

During FY 2014, the NHTRC received calls, emails, text messages, and online reports from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 44 foreign countries requesting assistance in the United States and U.S. territories. 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 nearly 42 percent of the calls where 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 one percent of calls in 27 other languages. The top ten caller languages other than English and Spanish were (in order by highest volume): Tamil, Mandarin Chinese, Tagalog, Russian, Thai, Portuguese, Korean, Polish, Arabic, and French. In five percent of substantive calls, the NHTRC call specialists communicated with callers in languages other than English through a private interpreting service, Certified Languages International. Spanish-speaking callers also spoke directly with bilingual NHTRC call specialists.

In FY 2014, more than 36 percent of the total substantive calls placed to the NHTRC required follow-up after the call had ended. One of the most important and complex forms of follow-up, and 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 1,230 potential human trafficking cases resulted in a direct report to law enforcement, which included members of DOJ’s OVC-BJA Human Trafficking Task Forces, DOJ’s HTPU, the FBI’s CRU, ICE HSI, 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 (WHD), DOL Office of the Inspector General (OIG), DOS Diplomatic Security Service, DOS Office of the Inspector General, and DoD. In 8,624 cases, the NHTRC provided individuals in need with referrals for social services for victims of human trafficking, the most common of which included emergency and transitional shelter, comprehensive case management, legal services, mental health services, 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 2014, the NHTRC received 1,446 emails, which included tips regarding potential trafficking (nine percent), requests for general information (40 percent), requests for training and technical assistance (16 percent), and requests for victim services referrals (six percent). The NHTRC engaged in 1,686 text message conversations, 30 percent of which referenced potential cases of human trafficking. The NHTRC also received 1,641 submissions through the web portal’s tip reporting system, 52 percent of which referenced potential cases of human trafficking.

The NHTRC also serves as a resource for anti-trafficking information; educational materials; promising practices; specialized tools for service providers, law enforcement, and other key stakeholders; and online trainings and training opportunities. In FY 2014, the NHTRC developed a new NHTRC Web portal that contains these resources as well as the National Human Trafficking Referral Directory, a searchable directory of emergency, transitional, and long-term services in the United States. The directory also connects individuals with training and technical assistance and opportunities to get involved in their communities.

In FY 2014, the NHTRC web portal received 3,144,829 unique page views. The most visited NHTRC pages were the Human Trafficking Overview (173,374 unique views) and Sex Trafficking in the U.S. (164,709 unique views) pages. During this period, the highest visitor rates for all pages were from California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Virginia.

By the end of FY 2014, the NHTRC had received information regarding the outcomes of 813 cases of potential human trafficking. Investigations were opened in 438 cases; in at least 106 cases, potential victims of human trafficking were located, removed from the situation, or provided with services; and in at least 24 cases, potential traffickers were located, arrested, and charged with a crime or convicted (or both).  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 or arrest of the potential traffickers:
The NHTRC received a call regarding a young adult victim of sex trafficking. The caller had just ended a telephone call with the victim, who was trapped in a hotel room. The trafficker had physically assaulted the victim, who had attempted to escape multiple times, but the trafficker always found her and forced her back into the trafficking situation. The victim was injured and wanted to leave immediately, but she could not contact the NHTRC because her trafficker was with her. With the help of information provided by the caller, the NHTRC reported the situation to a law enforcement agency, which immediately dispatched an undercover agent to the victim’s location. The trafficker was arrested and the victim was safely extracted and connected with emergency services. The trafficker was successfully prosecuted and the victim is receiving comprehensive social services.


The NHTRC was contacted by a female foreign national who was working for a family as a domestic worker. The victim reported working very long hours, seven days a week, and was rarely given time off. The victim was afraid to leave because her employer had her documents and she believed that if she left, her employer would report her for stealing. With the victim’s permission, the NHTRC reported the situation to a local anti-trafficking task force that worked with the victim to identify options for leaving safely. A law enforcement agent went to meet with the victim at her employer’s residence while the employer was home, assisted the victim in packing her belongings, and asked the employer for the victim’s documents. After the victim was interviewed, she was connected with an attorney and a victim specialist to help her understand eligibility for services.


The NHTRC responded to a case involving adult and minor foreign national male victims of sex trafficking. The hotline received a series of calls over the course of the year and helped some of the victims escape, connect with services, and report the case to NHTRC law enforcement partners. The perpetrators were later arrested and charged for human trafficking and other related crimes.

e. ACF Regional Capacity Campaign

In FY 2014, 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 updated resource documents to ACF’s regional offices that included information on regional and national trafficking-specific grants from HHS ACF and DOJ’s OVC, and local Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking coalitions, if present in the region. ATIP also provided them with an updated list of NHTRC staff with regional roles.

f. Enhanced Employment Services for Victims of Trafficking Demonstration

In FY 2014, ACF OPRE continued grants to two organizations for the Enhanced Employment Services for Victims of Trafficking Demonstration program to examine the feasibility and benefits of providing enhanced employment services to pre-certified, foreign trafficking victims and other foreign trafficking victims who are currently ineligible for the ORR Matching Grant Program.

3. Benefits and Services to U.S. Citizen and Lawful Permanent Resident Victims of Human Trafficking

The TVPA designated HHS, along with DOJ and in consultation with DOL, to establish specialized programs and use existing programs to assist U.S. citizens and LPR who are victims of severe forms of trafficking. 22 § U.S.C. 7105(f).

In FY 2014, funds were appropriated for the first time for HHS to establish specialized programs for U.S. citizen and LPR victims. In addition, ACF continued to strengthen integration and coordination of anti-trafficking activities with existing programs and services that may intersect with victims of human trafficking, including the child welfare system, runaway and homeless youth programs, family violence prevention services, and the ANA.

a. Demonstration Grants for Domestic Victims of Severe Forms of Human Trafficking

FYSB awarded grants to fund three two-year demonstration projects to build and sustain coordinated services in partnership with allied professionals in community-based organizations such as runaway and homeless youth, domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking victim services programs. The projects will support the provision of victim-centered services for U.S. citizens and LPR victims of severe forms of trafficking, regardless of age. ACF OPRE provided funding to support the evaluation of the Domestic Human Trafficking Demonstration projects to inform ACF on its efforts to improve services for victims of human trafficking.

The three grants that began in FY 2014 were awarded to Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development – Phoenix, Arizona; Edwin Gould Services for Children and Families – Brooklyn, New York; and Refugee and Immigrant Center at the Asian Association of Utah– Salt Lake City, Utah.

b. Grants to Address Trafficking within the Child Welfare Population

The Children’s Bureau awarded grants to fund nine five-year projects to continue the development of the child welfare system’s response to human trafficking through infrastructure building and a multi system approach with local law enforcement, juvenile justice, court systems, runaway and homeless youth programs, Children’s Justice Act grantees, child advocacy centers, and other necessary service providers. The grants were provided through Children’s Bureau discretionary funding.

The grants that began in FY 2014 were the following:

  • King County Superior Court – Seattle, Washington
  • Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Inc. – Miami, Florida
  • Arizona Board of Regents on Behalf of Arizona State University – Tempe, Arizona
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • California Department of Social Services – Sacramento, California
  • Healing Place Serve – Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore – Baltimore, Maryland
  • Connecticut Department of Children and Families – Hartford, Connecticut
  • Justice Resource Institute – Needham, Massachusetts
c. Social and Economic Development Strategies Grants

ACF ANA continued grant funding to the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center under the Social and Economic Development Strategies funding opportunity for program activities, including providing a culturally-grounded support group for young American Indian men aged 16–21 who are at high risk for involvement in commercial sexual exploitation.

4. Interagency Coordination and Collaboration on Benefits and Services to Victims

In FY 2014, the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation and ACF funded a project to identify a screening tool and protocol that can be used by youth-serving programs to identify youth who are victims of human trafficking; pilot test the feasibility (viability), reliability, and validity of implementing this screening tool/protocol in child welfare and runaway and homeless youth settings; and identify data elements that can be collected and reported in order to better determine the extent of the problem and improve services to youth.

In FY 2014, FYSB within ACF awarded grants through the Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) Program, which included explicit language enabling RHY-eligible persons who are also victims of human trafficking to be served through the 200 Transitional Living Programs and Maternity Group Homes that provide transitional shelter for up to 21 months, 299 Basic Center Programs that provide short-term crisis shelter for up to 21 days, and 109 Street Outreach Programs providing street-based services.

FYSB continued to partner with FBI Innocence Lost Task Forces in a pilot initiative to integrate human trafficking components into policies and to strengthen outcomes for trafficked children and youth through four runaway and homeless youth programs.
In FY 2014, as noted earlier, HHS, along with co-chairs at DOJ and DHS and other federal partners, released the five-year Federal Strategic Action Plan.

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

HHS continued partnership with DOJ, HUD, and Humanity United in the Partnership for Freedom, a public-private partnership to spur innovative solutions to human trafficking challenges. In FY 2014, the Partnership for Freedom announced winners in the first of three innovation competitions—Reimagine: Opportunity—to generate new ideas for sustainable housing, economic empowerment, and stronger social services for survivors.

  • The Massachusetts General Hospital Freedom Clinic received funding to establish a pioneering model of comprehensive primary and preventive health care services for human trafficking survivors. Lessons learned will be shared with healthcare providers across the nation to inform new policies and protocols that will improve the ability of the health care system to identify and assist human trafficking survivors.
  • The Safe Shelter Collaborative received funding to increase access to appropriate, supportive shelters for survivors of human trafficking through use of technology to locate and provide immediate shelter services for survivors. It will increase the amount of shelter available by broadening the base of organizations that can support human trafficking survivors.

Training, Outreach, and Public Awareness Efforts


1. ACF – Office of Refugee Resettlement: ATIP Program

In addition to the presentations and trainings by ORR child protection specialists previously described, in FY 2014, HHS 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.

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.

Through the NHTRC and its Rescue & Restore Regional Program grantees, ORR expanded training opportunities throughout the country. During FY 2014, the NHTRC conducted 40 trainings/presentations, 100 remote consultations by phone or email, eight material reviews, and nine intensive onsite consultations to a total audience of 6,482 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. In FY 2014, the most frequently requested topics across all audiences were NHTRC overview, introduction to human trafficking, local infrastructure and referrals, conducting needs assessments, hotline statistics, victim identification, and labor trafficking. The NHTRC also created one online training 18 on Human Trafficking & Gangs as well as new materials on Understanding (or Beginning to Quantify) Human Trafficking in Your Community, a resource for individuals working in the court system, and two outreach cards to help service providers identify victims of human trafficking. These resources are available on the NHTRC website. In FY 2014, the NHTRC sent 11 newsletters on trafficking issues to its listserv of more than 15,400 members.

HHS provided 11 briefings for international visitors sponsored by DOS’ International Visitor Leadership Program. Law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, nongovernmental leaders, representatives from governmental ministries, immigration officers, community organizations, and anti-trafficking leaders from 39 countries received briefings from HHS’ ATIP staff on HHS’ efforts to combat human trafficking and assist victims in the United States.

In FY 2014, callers from 1,056 calls to the NHTRC were identified as having learned of the NHTRC hotline number through the “Know Your Rights” pamphlet issued by DOS. Of those calls, 15 percent involved reports of potential human trafficking, crisis situations, or requests for victim services referrals. The pamphlet yielded the third highest volume of calls (11 percent) after “Internet-Web Search” and “Referral” among callers who identified how they learned about the hotline.

2. Campaign to Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking

The Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking campaign entered its eleventh year in FY 2014 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 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 2014, HHS distributed nearly 800,000 pieces of original, branded Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking public awareness campaign materials publicizing the NHTRC. These materials, which included posters, brochures, fact sheets, and cards with tips on identifying victims, were available 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, which is incorporated into all campaign materials.

3. Rescue and Restore Regional Program

In FY 2014, HHS’ Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking Regional Program continued to promote local responsibility for anti-trafficking efforts. The Rescue & Restore Regional Program employed an intermediary model to conduct public awareness, outreach, and identification activities for victims of trafficking. The Rescue & Restore Regional Program grants reinforced and were strengthened by other ATIP program activities, including the Trafficking Victim Assistance 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 operating in FY 2014 are listed below.) In the case of grants ending in FY 2014, HHS required 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 trafficking victims in their communities. These Rescue & Restore Regional Program grantees worked with victims of any nationality, so the numbers of suspected and confirmed victims they assist include U.S. citizens and foreign nationals.
In the new awards made in FY 2014, HHS refocused regional program grant recipients on the four goals below and de-emphasized sub-recipient management.

  • Identification and Referral of Foreign Victims of Human Trafficking: To identify foreign national victims of trafficking in the United States and refer them to service delivery systems.
  • Training and Technical Assistance: To build local capacity by providing training and technical assistance on human trafficking to local organizations.
  • Coalition Building: To lead or actively participate in a community-led effort to bring together and leverage local resources to address human trafficking in a region, such as a Rescue & Restore Coalition or law enforcement task force.
  • Public Awareness: To promote the public’s awareness of human trafficking by educating the public about the dangers of human trafficking, possible indicators of sex and labor trafficking, and the protections available to victims.

In FY 2014, Regional Program grantees made initial contact with 833 victims or suspected victims, including 514 foreign nationals and 319 U.S. citizens. Of the foreign nationals, 91 were referred to law enforcement for possible case investigations and 31 received ORR certification. Additionally, 31 foreign victims with whom Rescue & Restore Regional grantees interacted received ORR certification during FY 2014.
Examples of the work of HHS’ Rescue & Restore Regional Program grantees and their sub-recipients include the following:

  • The Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition (BSCC) has a working relationship with San Diego’s Channel 10 News. As a result of this partnership, the managing editor of Channel 10 News was able to contact BSCC with a tip for a potential case happening in downtown San Diego at an Irish pub and grill in August 2014. BSCC worked with DHS and DOL to initiate an investigation. Through these partnerships, and even with minimal public knowledge in identifying international victims of human trafficking, six women were brought out of labor trafficking and requested repatriation to their home country in western Europe. Channel 10 News also broadcast news coverage revealing the exploitative practices of these types of businesses.
  • In the summer of 2014, Sanctuary for Families—in partnership with seven leading law firms, the New York City Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, and the Queens County Human Trafficking Intervention Court (HTIC)—launched a project to provide free immigration legal services to individuals arrested on prostitution and related charges. Each week, a multilingual outreach team of Sanctuary staff and volunteers attend the weekly HTIC court session to provide foreign-born defendants with information about immigration legal services. Interested defendants could meet with teams of highly trained, culturally and linguistically sensitive pro bono attorneys for legal consultations at the Queens Family Justice Center (QFJC), a program of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence. From July 1 through September 30, 2014, the project provided legal consultations to 22 individuals. The press conference announcing the launch of this program received wide print and media coverage reaching an audience of 880,634 viewers in the greater metropolitan area. A key result was that one victim came forward after hearing a former Sanctuary client, “Kika,” speak in both English and Spanish about her own experience as an immigrant survivor of sex trafficking, encouraging victims to come out of the shadows and receive help.

Rescue & Restore Regional Program Grants that ended in FY 2014:

  • 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, New York, New York
  • 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

Rescue & Restore Regional Program Grants that began in FY 2014:

  • Metropolitan Family Services, Chicago, Illinois
  • International Institute of St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Nationalities Service Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Sanctuary for Families, New York, New York
  • Office of Criminal Justice Services, Columbus, Ohio
  • Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition, Houston, Texas
  • Colorado Legal Services, Denver, Colorado
  • Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, National City, California
  • Center for Family Services, Camden, New Jersey
  • International Rescue Committee – Seattle, New York, New York
  • International Rescue Committee – Miami, New York, New York
  • Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission, Fresno, California
  • Mosaic Family Services, Dallas, Texas
  • Opening Doors, Sacramento, California
    UMOS, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Catholic Charities of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky
  • Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, Los Angeles, California
  • County of Pinal, Florence, Arizona

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

In FY 2014, FYSB funded 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 300 runaway and homeless youth (RHY) organizations to help 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.

FYSB has also expanded services to victims of severe forms of human trafficking by funding three demonstration projects. The purpose of this demonstration grant is to develop and strengthen coordinated case management and comprehensive direct victim assistance for domestic victims of severe forms of human trafficking in the United States. This funding opportunity, through FYSB, supports the goals and objectives of the Federal Strategic Action Plan. In order to ensure quality services and response to human trafficking in the demonstration sites, FYSB expanded RHYTTAC’s role in the areas of technical support and capacity-building.

  • RHYTTAC convened a meeting with various subject-matter experts to discuss human trafficking best practices. The meeting provided an opportunity to understand how human trafficking impacts RHY and to share strategies to improve resources for RHY programs.
  • RHYTTAC continues building RHY grantees’ awareness and capacity at a broader scale by delivering online trainings and webinars on human trafficking. In FY 2014, RHYTTAC partnered with other human trafficking subject-matter experts to deliver online trainings: (1) Culturally Appropriate Human Trafficking Services; (2) Establishing Effective Memorandums of Understanding and Partnership Agreements; (3) Navigating the World of Community Coalitions; (4) Responding to Risks Serving Victims/Survivors; (5) Covert Outreach Techniques and Materials; (6) Partnering with Survivors as Educators and Volunteers; and (7) Building Community Awareness. The webinars also included pre and post surveys, along with tips sheets and resource guidelines, to support grantees’ field work.
  • Additional training and workshops on human trafficking was provided to RHY grantees in their annual National Runaway and Homeless Conference held November 10–12, 2013, in Phoenix, Arizona. The conference provided an opportunity to identify needs and next steps to keep building the capacity of grantees on human trafficking challenges.

5. ACF – Family and Youth Services Bureau: Family Violence Prevention Services

The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act Program (FVPSA Program) in FYSB in ACF supports training, services, and advocacy for both domestic and foreign victims of trafficking 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 2014, the FVPSA Program provided training and technical assistance on human trafficking primarily through two of its culturally-specific special issue resources centers. Some examples of this work include:

  • The Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence (APIIDV) trained 1,200 individuals via webinar on survivor-centered, culturally responsive, and trauma-informed advocacy for international and domestic trafficking victims. An additional 1,087 individuals downloaded the recording of the training.
  • APIIDV served as a resource to federal agencies on developing implementation plans based on the Federal Strategic Action Plan. In particular, technical assistance was provided on collaboration and capacity-building to assist trafficking victims, and policy initiatives on anti-trafficking measures included analysis and consultation on Safe Harbor provisions in states, and resources for Asian victims of trafficking.
  • In FY 2014, APIIDV co-facilitated a two-day training in New Mexico to expand cross-system responses to Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) and international trafficking victims. The training was convened by Spoken For, an anti-trafficking organization, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and was attended by 250 participants representing social service agencies, faith-based programs, law enforcement, anti-trafficking agencies, health care clinics, and youth service providers.
  • Additionally, APIIDV co-facilitated two listening sessions for state coalitions at their annual meeting, convened by the FVPSA Program office.
  • APIIDV participated in three additional listening sessions convened by the FVPSA Program office for one-and-a-half days with domestic violence programs addressing trafficking and DMST survivors, Native women, and state coalitions. Forty-five people attended, including federal policymakers and representatives of anti-trafficking and domestic violence agencies, tribal programs, and coalitions.
  • The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) hosted “Walking With our Sisters: Sex Trafficking of Native Women Institute” in Minnesota on January 23–30, 2014. The Institute was a partnership with the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center (MIWRC), Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition, Spirit Lake Victims Assistance Program, and First Nations Women’s Alliance. Highlights of the Institute included videotaped messages for participants from U.S. senators from Minnesota; and a panel by the Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force that discussed how the task force was developed and reached its current status, as a means of helping others develop a sex trafficking task force in their tribal communities. The Institute was a great success, with over 110 participants.
  • In FY 2014, NIWRC participated in a National Training Working Group on addressing human trafficking in health care settings, which was held in Washington, D.C. The meeting was convened to develop a national strategy on implementing training within health care settings to identify and respond to human trafficking and to ensure this training becomes part of health care training policy.

In addition, nearly half (27 of 56) of state and territorial domestic violence coalitions have special initiatives to build the capacity of their member programs to serve trafficking victims through training, technical assistance, and advocacy.

6. ACF – Children’s Bureau

In FY 2014, 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 Visit disclaimer page , which highlights numerous publications and resources and connects concerned individuals to organizations addressing the issue. Resources include state and local examples of such organizations.

In FY 2014, the Children’s Bureau provided technical assistance on human trafficking through the National Resource Center for 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 web page dedicated to Trafficked and Exploited Children and Youth. The NRCPFC website offers many publications, practice tools, and research materials from ACF; evidence-based practice, research, and reports from collaborating organizations; and information from states.

In FY 2014, the Children’s Bureau’s consolidated and reorganized its training and technical assistance structure. New Child Welfare Capacity Building Centers were established that will assume responsibility in FY 2015 for services to state and tribal child welfare agencies and courts to assist them with implementing policies and practices to effectively serve child and youth victims of trafficking and to prevent future trafficking of those at risk.

7. HHS and Interagency Collaborations

ACF and the Office of Women’s Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health developed the SOAR to Health and Wellness training for health care providers to “Stop, Observe, Ask, and Respond” to human trafficking. The training was informed by extensive literature review and feedback from a diverse technical working group of subject-matter experts, health care providers, service providers, and survivors. As mentioned earlier, five pilot training were held in September 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia; Boston, Massachusetts; Houston, Texas; Oakland, California; and Williston and New Town, North Dakota. In all, 180 health care providers (e.g., physicians, nurses, dentists, and clinical social workers) received training and a three-month follow-up evaluation.

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 2014 engagement efforts included presentations at the 28th Annual San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment, the Freedom Network conference, Quinnipiac School of Nursing, and the Annual National Joint Tribal Emergency Management Conference.

In FY 2014, ACF provided information on federal anti-trafficking efforts during tribal consultations in Washington, D.C., and through regional offices. The ACF Office of Public Affairs strengthened online and social media activity to increase awareness about human trafficking, including 16 blog posts on the Family Room Blog and Twitter and Facebook posts.


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