Protection Checklist

Fact Sheet
July 9, 2012


This checklist represents a non-exhaustive collection of common victim protection practices gathered by the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons from a variety of sources, including non-governmental organizations and foreign governments. These practices may neither be feasible or appropriate in all situations, but represent practices that governments may consider in developing victim protection strategies.


  • Conduct targeted, culturally and linguistically appropriate public awareness campaigns within communities, industries, and areas at risk of trafficking
  • Implement victim identification training for health care workers, attorneys, social workers, teachers, workplace inspectors, child welfare advocates, religious leaders, and other professionals likely to encounter trafficking
  • Train government personnel, particularly those in labor, health, immigration and law enforcement, to identify and refer victims
  • Conduct screenings for trafficking victims within jails and immigration detention
  • Adopt programs to screen vulnerable immigrant populations, including asylum seekers, for indicators of trafficking
  • Screen unaccompanied children for trafficking at borders
  • Inform noncitizen and citizen workers of relevant workplace and other rights to facilitate the self-reporting of labor violations, exploitation and trafficking
  • Establish a national hotline to facilitate referrals for victims of trafficking
  • Investigate industries where trafficking is prevalent
  • Take measures to protect the identity of victims in press statements allowing victims the decision on whether to disclose identifying information

Legal proceedings

  • Keep trafficked persons’ identities and information confidential in legal proceedings, consistent with domestic law
  • Enable the victims’ testimony to be presented and considered at appropriate stages of criminal proceedings against the trafficker, consistent with domestic law
  • Train law enforcement personnel on victims’ rights and protections so that they treat trafficked persons as victims, rather than penalizing them for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked
  • Create law enforcement protocols that mandate appropriate protection and treatment of trafficking victims
  • Allow trafficked persons to take legal recourse against their trafficker and seek compensation for their loss
  • Provide victims with information about their rights and legal proceedings in a language that they understand
  • Take appropriate and feasible measures to protect trafficked persons and their family members from intimidation and retaliation from traffickers
  • Provide access to services and support to victims during legal proceedings to help ease the burden of cooperation


  • Create and distribute victim assistance information about available services to appropriate locations
  • Fund experienced NGOs to provide shelter and services
  • Make the appropriate services available to victims, including: medical care; emergency and transitional housing with long-term housing assistance; mental health counseling; food; clothing; educational and vocational training and placement; family location and reunification; translation and interpretation; advocacy in the criminal justice system; spiritual support; criminal, civil and immigration legal assistance; safety planning; repatriation; and assistance in finding and accessing these many services
  • Ensure shelter and services are appropriate for victims’ age, gender and special needs
  • Permit victims the decision whether to accept shelter and services

Durable solutions

  • Make available to trafficked persons temporary immigration status coupled with work authorization to provide stability during participation in an investigation and prosecution
  • Facilitate the voluntary, safe repatriation of trafficking victims
  • Assist repatriated victims in finding reintegration services in their country of origin
  • Fund reintegration services for returning victims
  • Explore third-country resettlement if return to the country of origin would not be safe and may include hardship, retribution or retrafficking
  • Make available the option of local integration as a long-term solution when return would not be safe and may include hardship, retribution or retrafficking