Federal Government Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking

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As the Office on Trafficking in Persons at the HHS Administration for Children and Families, we strive to establish a national system that serves survivors of all forms of trafficking by empowering existing service systems, forming partnerships, and coordinating federal and local responses.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 called for the creation of the President's Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts among various U.S. Federal government agencies.

Read more about the Task Force and other federal government reports on efforts to combat human trafficking.

The following federal government agencies are implementing programs to protect and assist victims of human trafficking and to capture and prosecute their traffickers.

Department of State

The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons is responsible for coordinating international anti-trafficking programs and efforts. This office coordinates annual Trafficking in Persons reports that engage foreign governments to advance anti-trafficking reforms. They also oversee the President’s Interagency Task Force, the US Advisory Council on Human Trafficking and international grant programs to combat trafficking.

Department of Defense

The Combating Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) Program Office enforces DOD’s zero tolerance policy for trafficking in persons. The Office ensures that the services, combatant commands, and defense agencies have the necessary tools to prevent trafficking.

Department of Justice

DOJ investigates cases of trafficking and prosecutes traffickers and has contributed to the construction of a network of service providers via their grant programs. The Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center is a gateway to training and technical assistance for victim service providers and allied professionals who serve crime victims.

Other DOJ Resources:

Department of the Interior

Interior set up a Native American human trafficking task force to address trafficking in certain states. Their Federal Law Enforcement Training Center trains Bureau of Indian Education law enforcement officers on human trafficking, including identification, investigations, and intervention.

Department of Agriculture

In 2016, USDA conducted outreach in rural and tribal communities to learn from stakeholders about their experience with trafficking and better inform federal efforts in those areas. The Department also partners with DHS to provide access to human trafficking training to its 100,000 employees.

Department of Labor

The Bureau of International Labor Affairs carries out research, policy engagement, and technical cooperation to advance the elimination of trafficking. The Wage and Hour Division investigates complaints of labor law violation, and is an important partner in the detection of trafficking victims. CareerOneStop centers offer programs like job-search, job-placement assistance, and job-counseling services as well as educational and training services and referrals to supportive services such as transportation, childcare, and housing to survivors of trafficking.

Department of Health & Human Services

HHS conducts public awareness of human trafficking in order to increase victim identification and connect victims with quality services. HHS has funded the National Human Trafficking Hotline since 2008 and also connects foreign national victims of trafficking with benefits and services through HHS Certification. Many operating divisions of HHS participate in the HHS Task Force to Prevent & End Human Trafficking

Other HHS Resources:

Department of Transportation

DOT works with Amtrak and commercial airlines to train employees on how to recognize and report human trafficking. In partnership with the DHS Blue Campaign, they offer employees a computer-based training module, printed materials, and methods to safely alert federal law enforcement.

Department of Education

ED provides human trafficking guidance for staff working in American’s schools. The guide includes risk factors, protocols if you suspect trafficking, and impacts that trafficking has on learning environments. ED also strives to partner with communities to raise awareness and increase youth engagement in preventing and ending human trafficking.

Department of Homeland Security

The DHS Blue Campaign works in collaboration with law enforcement, government, non-governmental, and private organizations and strives to protect the basic right of freedom and to bring those who exploit human lives to justice.

DHS plays a major role in identifying foreign national victims of trafficking. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigates cases and adjudicates continued presence status, which makes a victim eligible for HHS certification. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services grants T nonimmigrant status to victims of human trafficking, which also makes a victim eligible for HHS certification.

Office of the Director of National Intelligence

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence works with law enforcement agencies to identify gaps, disrupt trafficking networks, and integrate anti-trafficking efforts into existing databases and programs. 

Federal Bureau of Investigation

FBI human trafficking investigations are conducted by agents within the FBI’s human trafficking program and members of federal human trafficking task forces. The Office for Victim Assistance ensures that victims of crimes investigated by the FBI receive the services and notification afforded to them. 

U.S. Agency for International Development

USAID funds international programs that prevent trafficking, protect and assist victims, and support prosecutions through training for police and criminal justice personnel. USAID also supports individual country assessments of the scope and nature of trafficking and the efforts of government, civil society, and international organization to combat it.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Civil enforcement and litigation of anti-discrimination laws can help trafficking victims. The EEOC enforces anti-discrimination laws, including those prohibiting discrimination on the bases of race, national origin, and sex, including sexual harassment.

Department of Housing & Urban Development

HUD provides information and resources for homeless service providers focusing on strategies to prevent human trafficking among the most vulnerable populations, including the runaway and homeless youth population. HUD also clarified that persons who are fleeing human trafficking could be considered eligible for housing programs.

Last Reviewed: September 25, 2017

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