Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons: An Overview
The U.S. Department of State leads the United States’ global engagement to combat human trafficking and supports the coordination of anti-trafficking efforts across the U.S. government. Within the Department of State, and under the direction of the Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office) partners with foreign governments, international organizations, civil society, and the private sector to develop and implement effective strategies for confronting modern slavery. The TIP Office is responsible for bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, targeted foreign assistance, and public engagement on trafficking in persons.
The TIP Office was established in accordance with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000. The TVPA updated the post-Civil War slavery statutes, furthering the guarantees of freedom from slavery and involuntary servitude set forth in the U.S. Constitution and articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The TIP Office pursues policies, partnerships, and practices that uphold the 3P paradigm of prosecuting traffickers, protecting victims, and preventing trafficking, consistent with the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo Protocol). The TIP Office is organized into four sections: Reports and Political Affairs, International Programs, Public Engagement, and Resource Management and Planning.
Reports and Political Affairs
The Reports and Political Affairs (RPA) section’s primary role is to engage foreign governments regarding human trafficking issues and to prepare the annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. The TIP Office and U.S. missions worldwide meet regularly with foreign government officials to advance the 3P approach, gauge progress in advancing anti-trafficking efforts, and identify and examine trafficking trends. The RPA section encourages measurable progress through national action plans and recommendations in the TIP Report to support the fight against human trafficking. These recommendations are consistent with anti-trafficking standards set out in the Palermo Protocol. They are country-specific and may prescribe a range of activities, such as enacting anti-trafficking legislation, increasing law enforcement efforts, implementing victim-centered protection policies and services, and undertaking relevant prevention activities.
The TIP Report is the U.S. government’s principal diplomatic and diagnostic tool to guide relations with foreign governments on human trafficking. It is also the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-trafficking efforts and reflects the U.S. government’s commitment to global leadership on this key human rights and law enforcement issue.
Through the TIP Report, the Department of State assesses countries based on their governments’ efforts to meet the “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” found in Section 108 of the TVPA. Since 2010, the TIP Report has also ranked the United States government’s anti-trafficking efforts using the same minimum standards.
Since 2001, the number of countries included and ranked in the TIP Report has more than doubled to 188 countries and territories. Globally, the TIP Report has prompted legislation, national action plans, and implementation of anti-trafficking policies and programs across the 3Ps.
Since 2002, the International Programs (IP) section has leveraged more than $250 million in foreign assistance funding to support more than 880 anti-trafficking projects worldwide. The TIP Office prioritizes its programming according to trends and recommendations identified in the TIP Report and in alignment with the 3Ps.
The IP section develops annual regional programming strategies, oversees a competitive grant process, monitors current projects, and provides technical assistance to grantees, which include international organizations and non-governmental organizations. The IP section collaborates on anti-trafficking programs with other Department of State and interagency counterparts and builds partnerships with other bilateral and private donors to enhance coordination.
TIP Office programming is organized as follows:
Bilateral and Regional: Multi-year bilateral and regional projects that promote anti-trafficking protection, prosecution, and prevention objectives.
Training and Technical Assistance: Short-term training projects to increase government and civil society capacities to combat trafficking, and deployable technical assistance to help government agencies address immediate needs.
Emergency Victim Assistance: Direct assistance for trafficking victims overseas on an emergency case-by-case basis.
Research and Innovation: Short-term and multi-year projects that address unmet research needs and explore innovative approaches to combating human trafficking.
The TIP Office’s Public Engagement (PE) section works with Congress, the media, NGOs, other U.S. government agencies, multilateral organizations, corporations, academia, research institutes, and civil society to raise awareness about modern slavery and the U.S. government’s anti-trafficking efforts and to build partnerships to help strengthen those efforts.
The PE section supports Secretary of State John Kerry in his role as Chair of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (PITF), a cabinet-level entity created by the TVPA to coordinate U.S. government-wide efforts to combat trafficking in persons. The departments and agencies of the PITF have brought together leaders from government, the private sector, advocates and survivors, faith leaders, law enforcement, and academia, and have made significant progress to strengthen federal efforts to combat human trafficking. The PE section also supports the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, comprised of survivors of human trafficking and charged with make recommendations to the PITF on federal anti-trafficking policies.
The PE section serves as the TIP Office’s liaison to Capitol Hill, ensuring that members of Congress and their staff are aware of the Department of State’s actions to combat trafficking. In addition, the PE section manages the TIP Office’s media outreach and public campaigns with the goal of raising awareness of modern slavery and prompting action to fight it. The PE section also handles outreach to civil society, faith-based communities, law enforcement, and victim advocates to share best practices and disseminate information.
Within the PE section, the Multilateral Affairs team serves as the TIP Office’s focal point on all matters related to the United Nations, the International Labor Organization, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organization of American States, the Regional Conference on Migration, and other multilateral bodies. The team works with other member states to ensure that new resolutions and initiatives move beyond hortatory language to concrete outcomes to address human trafficking. Universal ratification and full implementation of the Palermo Protocol and the promotion of a victim-centered approach to preventing and combating all forms of human trafficking are the centerpieces of anti-trafficking efforts in multilateral venues.
Resource Management and Planning
The Resource Management and Planning (RMP) section provides management support to the TIP Office, including strategic planning, performance management, evaluation oversight, budget formulation and execution for foreign assistance and state operations resources, human resource liaison services, general services, travel assistance, and contract support.