DOS represents the United States in the global fight to combat human trafficking by engaging with foreign governments, international and inter-governmental organizations, and civil society to develop and implement effective strategies for confronting this form of modern slavery. This occurs through bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, targeted foreign assistance, public outreach, and specific projects on trafficking in persons. The Department chairs the PITF and SPOG, as described here. The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons produces the annual Trafficking in Persons Report, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of foreign governments’ efforts to address human trafficking and serves as the U.S. government’s principal diplomatic tool to promote anti-trafficking reforms. The Report also spotlights the forms that modern slavery takes around the world and encourages partnerships with civil society. The office funds international anti-trafficking programs, taking into account the assessments of individual countries as set out in the annual TIP Report. The Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) funds international anti-trafficking programs, as well as the Return, Reintegration, and Family Reunification Program for Victims of Trafficking. In addition, global programs funded by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) promote worker rights and address labor violations, including trafficking in persons. The Department’s security and law enforcement arm, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, plays an essential role investigating human trafficking crimes in collaboration with other law enforcement entities. The Office of Global Women’s Issues (S/GWI) works for the political, economic, and social empowerment of women. Integral to this work is a focus on responding to and preventing violence against women and girls, which contributes to efforts to prevent human trafficking. The Department’s Consular officers also have an important role and are trained in combating trafficking in persons at U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide, in particular in their role assessing applications for employment- or education-based nonimmigrant visas. See additional DOS resources below:
- Fact Sheets
- TIP 101 Training
- 15 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking
- Domestic Trafficking Hotlines
DoD endeavors to ensure that the U.S. military, its civilian employees, and its contractors are aware of and adopt the zero tolerance policy on human trafficking. A demand reduction campaign helps make contractors, government personnel, and military members aware of common signs of human trafficking and provides a hotline number to report suspected incidents. The awareness campaign is reinforced by the requirement for all military and civilian members of the Department to take annual trafficking awareness training. DoD’s subordinate organizations are further required to report on completion of their personnel’s annual training. Public service announcements on labor and sex trafficking are in effect. DoD routinely holds conferences and workshops to further educate personnel and explore innovative measures to combat TIP. The DoD Combating Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) program office established a multidisciplinary Task Force in April 2012, to provide advice and recommendations for improving the current contractual implementation regarding CTIP laws and regulations. A team deployed overseas specifically to: a) improve or strengthen existing policies and procedures for combating trafficking in persons; b) develop procedures to eliminate deceptive hiring and exorbitant fees charged to third country nationals (TCN) working on defense contracts; c) develop a comprehensive management plan to address deficiencies in the data presented to the CTIP manager and captured in the Defense Incident Base Reporting System to provide an accurate count of domestic violence incidents and subsequent disciplinary actions; as well as d) several combating trafficking in persons initiatives are being developed to monitor, enforce and train Contracting Officers, Contracting Officers’ Representatives, and Contractors. See additional DoD resources here.
The Department of Justice outlines its anti-trafficking efforts, including an overview of its initiatives and relevant publications, on its website. The cases are investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducts domestic and international human trafficking investigations, to include sex trafficking, labor trafficking, and illegal domestic servitude matters, as well as child sex tourism conducted by U.S. citizens traveling abroad. The FBI provides basic and advanced human trafficking training to local, state, federal and foreign law enforcement officers and prosecutors, as well as non-government organizations. In coordination with the Department of State, the FBI created and provided a two-week advanced human trafficking training for 20 Central American law enforcement officers and prosecutors. That training, held at the FBI Academy, was very well received, and was recommended to be provided on an annual basis. Additionally, the FBI has been part of a multi-agency effort to create advanced human trafficking training to be provided to federal agents, prosecutors, and victim specialists. The FBI is an active member of the Federal Enforcement Working Group, and the Anti-Trafficking Coordination Teams (ACTeams) together with their counterparts from the Department of Homeland Security/ Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, and the U.S. Department of Justice. The ACTeams have worked together to de-conflict investigations, share investigative intelligence, and jointly pursue human trafficking cases throughout the United States. The FBI created protocols for working human trafficking cases in coordination with the Office of Victim Assistance. These protocols are used by the FBI’s field offices as guidelines for coordinating enforcement and victim service efforts, in conjunction with non-government organizations. The Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section prosecutes cases of child sex trafficking and child sex tourism. The Criminal Division’s Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training program provides anti-trafficking training and technical assistance to law enforcement internationally. The Bureau of Justice Assistance funds 38 anti-trafficking task forces comprised of local, state, and federal law enforcement as well as nongovernmental victim service providers. The Office of Victims of Crime funds nongovernmental organizations to provide services to U.S. citizen victims and foreign victims prior to certification by the Department of Health and Human Services. Significant research is conducted by the National Institute of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Statistics. DOJ also produces the Attorney General’s Annual Report to Congress on U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons. The most recent report, released for FY 2015, can be found here.
USDA established a Consultative Group to Eliminate the Use of Child Labor and Forced Labor in Imported Agricultural Products, pursuant to Section 3205 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. The group represents a diverse set of government, private sector, academic and nongovernmental organization entities, and was charged with developing and making recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture regarding guidelines to reduce the likelihood that agricultural products imported into the United States are produced with the use of child or forced labor. The Secretary issued guidelines based on the group’s recommendations in April, 2011. The group’s mandate expired on December 31, 2012.
DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) carries out civil law enforcement in the nation’s workplaces and its field investigators are often the first government authorities to detect exploitive labor practices. WHD coordinates with other law enforcement agencies to ensure restitution on behalf of victims. WHD actively works alongside law enforcement partners in six pilot Anti-Trafficking Coordination Teams (ACTeams) located in Miami, Atlanta, Memphis, Kansas City, El Paso, and Los Angeles as part of a pilot program coordinated by the Federal Enforcement Working Group on Trafficking (headed by DOJ). The WHD also participates in 26 Bureau of Justice Assistance/ Office of Victims of Crime (OVC/BJA) funded task forces that are operating in New York, Massachusetts, California, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Arizona, Texas, Ohio, Kansas and Florida, the District of Columbia, and the Northern Marianas, and 12 non-OVC/BJA funded task forces, located in Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Kansas, Minnesota and Ohio. WHD has established protocols for certifying Supplement B of the U visa application based on five qualifying criminal activities – trafficking, involuntary servitude, peonage, obstruction of justice and witness tampering – when it detects them while carrying out its enforcement authority for employment laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA). The DOL Office of the Inspector General (DOL OIG) participates in the six pilot ACTeams coordinated by the Federal Enforcement Working Group on Trafficking. The DOL OIG also investigates fraud and abuse related to the Department’s Foreign Labor Certification (FLC) Programs (PERM, H-2A, H-1B, H-2B, etc.), as well as non-traditional organized crime threats that may jeopardize the integrity of these FLC programs. These investigations may identify evidence of human trafficking. DOL’s Employment and Training Administration offers employment and training services, including vocational training, intensive case management, local labor market information, work readiness, on the job training and guidance around career ladders, to trafficking victims, as well as guidance and training for State Farmworker Monitor Advocates. Additionally, DOL’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) awards grants to implement technical assistance programs to combat the worst forms of child labor around the globe. Some of these programs include direct service, awareness raising, and policy activities to address child trafficking as one of the worst forms of child labor. ILAB publishes three reports on child labor and/or forced labor in countries worldwide, including the “List of Goods Produced by Child or Forced Labor” required by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 (TVPRA list), which informs the public about 134 goods from 74 countries that DOL has reason to believe are produced by forced labor, child labor, or both in violation of international standards. The other two reports are the Executive Order 13126 list of goods made with forced or indentured child labor, and the Trade and Development Act Report on the Worst Forms of Child Labor. DOL uses these reports as tools to communicate the urgent need for effective action by governments, private sector actors, and others to address these problems. Additional DOL Resources can be found below:
HHS leads the Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking public awareness campaign, funds organizations to conduct outreach to foreign and U.S. citizen victims, funds comprehensive case management and support services for foreign victims in the United States, and certifies foreign victims of a severe form of trafficking in persons to be eligible to receive Federal benefits and services to the same extent as refugees. A range of programs also assist youth at-risk of trafficking, including the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Family Violence Prevention Services Programs. HHS also funds the National Human Trafficking Resource Center that provides a nationwide 24/7 hotline at 1-888-3737-888. Additional HHS resources can be found below:
- Fact Sheets from the Rescue and Restore Campaign
- Fact Sheet: National Human Trafficking Resource Center
- SOAR to Health and Wellness Training: Stop. Observe. Ask. Respond to Human Trafficking
- Toolkits for healthcare providers, social service organizations, and law enforcement officers
- Guidance to States and Services on Addressing Human Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United States
- Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States, 2013-2017
The Blue Lightning Initiative, led by the Department of Transportation and the Department of Homeland Security, is an element of the DHS Blue Campaign. Blue Lightning trains airline personnel to identify potential traffickers and their victims and to report their suspicions to federal law enforcement.
ED’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students uses the Web, listservs, and trainings to raise awareness both to prevent trafficking of children and to increase victim identification of trafficked children in schools. Trafficking often involves school-age children—particularly those not living with their parents—who are vulnerable to coerced labor exploitation, domestic servitude, or commercial sexual exploitation. Traffickers target minor victims through telephone chat-lines, social networking websites, on the streets, in malls, as well as by using girls to recruit other girls at school and in after-school programs. The Office of Safe and Healthy Students develops and disseminates materials about preventing human trafficking, such as “Human Trafficking of Children in the United States: A Fact Sheet for Schools.” The Office of Safe and Healthy Students develops and disseminates materials about preventing human trafficking, such as “Human Trafficking of Children in the United States: A Fact Sheet for Schools” and the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Website.
DHS is one of the federal law enforcement agencies responsible for investigating human trafficking. DHS initiates hundreds of investigations, makes numerous arrests every year, and uses a victim-centered approach to investigating human trafficking offenses. DHS also administers immigration benefits and grants T and U visas to victims of human trafficking and other designated crimes. In 2010, Secretary Napolitano launched the Blue Campaign – a first-of-its-kind initiative to coordinate and enhance the Department’s anti-human trafficking efforts. DHS components work together to combat human trafficking through a variety of programs, and the Blue Campaign coordinates and unites this work. The Blue Campaign is organized around the “three Ps” of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000: Prevention, Protection and Prosecution. And underlying all of this work is a critical “fourth P,” Partnership. To prevent human trafficking, the Department conducts public outreach both domestically and abroad. The Blue Campaign has created a suite of awareness trainings and informational materials which are distributed to key sectors, including transportation, hospitality, retail, law enforcement, first responders, and nongovernmental organizations to increase awareness about how to identify and report suspected cases of human trafficking.
To protect victims, the Department provides immigration relief in the form of Continued Presence, T visas and U visas, and employs Victim Assistance Specialists who work in tandem with law enforcement and nongovernmental service providers throughout the country to actively provide information to potential victims about their rights and to provide referrals for victims to seek assistance to support their recovery. To increase prosecutions of traffickers, the Department directly investigates cases of human trafficking. It also trains thousands of federal, state, local and international law enforcement officials annually to recognize the indicators of human trafficking and to conduct successful human trafficking investigations. Through the Blue Campaign, the Department continues its collaboration with international and domestic partners across government, law enforcement, first responders, faith-based communities, nongovernmental organizations, and business. The DHS Blue Campaign has established a variety of resources for our partners and stakeholders available for use by the general public, including indicator cards, fact sheets, radio and TV spots, pamphlets, posters, brochures, and more. For more information, please visit the DHS Blue Campaign webpage or the DHS Blue Campaign Facebook page. Additional resources from DHS can be found below:
- Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States, 2013-2017
Established by Executive Order in 1993, the Domestic Policy Council (DPC) coordinates the domestic policy-making process in the White House, ensures that domestic policy decisions and programs are consistent with the President’s stated goals, and monitors implementation of the President’s domestic policy agenda. Resources from DPC on human trafficking can be found below:
- White House National Security Council Staff
- September 2013 White House Fact Sheet on USG Efforts
- April 2013 White House Fact Sheet on USG Efforts
- White House Forum to Combat Human Trafficking
- Building Progress to Eradicate Modern-Day Slavery: Report of Recommendations to the President (President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (April 2013)
- Remarks by President Barack Obama to the Clinton Global Initiative (September 2012)
- September 2012 White House Fact Sheet on USG Efforts
- Executive Order 13627: Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal Contracts
- September 2012 White House Fact Sheet on Executive Order 13627
USAID funds international programs that prevent trafficking, protect and assist victims, and support prosecutions through training for police and criminal justice personnel. USAID reinforces successful anti-trafficking initiatives by funding programs that support economic development, child protection, women’s empowerment, good governance, education, health, and human rights. USAID supports individual country assessments of the scope and nature of trafficking and the efforts of government, civil society, and international organization to combat it.
The EEOC investigates, attempts to informally resolve, and litigates charges alleging discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, and genetic information. In appropriate cases, therefore, the EEOC is able to secure civil remedies (e.g., monetary and equitable relief) for trafficking victims. In 2010, the EEOC participated for the first time in both the PITF and SPOG meetings as a full partner. On January 19, 2011, the Commission conducted a public meeting on the agency's role in fighting human trafficking and forced labor. The EEOC has committed to active participation in order to identify additional labor trafficking cases through its 53 offices nationwide. Whether or not a criminal trafficking prosecution is pursued in a particular case, civil enforcement and litigation of anti-discrimination laws can be important to vindicating federally protected rights and obtaining remedies for victims.