Protection Checklist

Fact Sheet
Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
June 20, 2014


This checklist represents a non-exhaustive collection of effective victim protection practices compiled by the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons from a variety of sources, including NGOs and foreign governments. The suggestions listed may not be feasible or appropriate in all situations, but represent practices that governments may consider in developing victim protection strategies.


  • Conduct targeted public awareness campaigns within communities, industries, and areas at risk of trafficking that are culturally and linguistically appropriate.
  • 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 victims of human trafficking.
  • Train government personnel, particularly first-responders and those in labor, health, immigration, and law enforcement, to identify and refer victims to the appropriate services.
  • Conduct screenings for potential trafficking victims among those incarcerated and in immigration detention centers.
  • Adopt programs to screen vulnerable immigrant populations, including asylum seekers and unaccompanied children at borders, for indicators of human trafficking.
  • Inform citizen and noncitizen workers of the rights of workers relevant to their workplace and of other rights to facilitate the self-reporting of labor violations, exploitation, and human trafficking.
  • Establish and publicize a national hotline to facilitate referrals to law enforcement and service providers for victims of trafficking.
  • Monitor industries with a high risk of exploitation and trafficking.
  • Take measures to protect the identity of victims in press statements and other public documents, including allowing victims to decide whether to disclose identifying information.

Legal Proceedings

  • Keep trafficked persons’ identities and information confidential in legal proceedings, to the extent consistent with domestic law.
  • Enable victims’ testimony to be presented and considered at appropriate stages of criminal proceedings against their traffickers, consistent with domestic law.
  • Train law enforcement personnel on victim rights and protections so that they treat trafficked persons as victims, rather than penalize 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 seek legal recourse against their traffickers and compensation for their loss.
  • Provide victims with information about their rights and any relevant 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 victim assistance information about available services and distribute at appropriate locations.
  • Fund experienced NGOs to provide shelter and services.
  • Make appropriate services available to victims, including: medical care; emergency and transitional housing with long-term housing assistance; mental health counseling; substance abuse treatment; 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 to decide whether to accept shelter and services.

Durable Solutions

  • Make available to trafficked persons temporary immigration status coupled with work authorization to provide stability, including during participation in an investigation or prosecution.
  • Facilitate the voluntary, safe repatriation of trafficking victims.
  • 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 re-trafficking.
  • Make available the option of immigration status as a long-term solution when return would not be safe or could include hardship, retribution, or re-trafficking.