Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
December 20, 2007
Overview of U.S. Government Agencies' Principal Roles to Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP)
Several agencies within the U.S. Government play a role in combating human trafficking. The agencies described in this document participate in the Senior Policy Operating Group on Human Trafficking, which is chaired by the Director of the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and reports to the President’s Interagency Trafficking Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. This interagency working group coordinates the implementation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and addresses emerging interagency policy, grants, and planning issues.
USAID funds international anti-trafficking in persons programs that prevent trafficking, protect and assist victims, and support prosecutions through training for officials in judicial systems. USAID reinforces successful anti-trafficking initiatives by funding programs that support economic development, good governance, education, health, and human rights, and flow from country-based collaborative frameworks that have the committed participation of civil society, government, and law enforcement.
Department of Defense (DOD)
DOD developed and fielded a general TIP awareness training module and is conducting awareness training for all personnel. DOD has adopted a zero tolerance policy on prostitution and human trafficking and amended its Manual for Courts Martial in October 2005 so that patronizing a prostitute is a chargeable offense under the military justice system. DOD published an interim Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement clause in October 2006 which requires anti-TIP provisions on all DOD overseas contracts. The DOD Inspector General in November 2006 completed and released publicly a department-wide evaluation of DOD efforts to prevent trafficking in persons. On February 16, 2007 DOD published an internal Regulatory Instruction that clarifies the role and responsibilities of the Military Services and the Combatant Commanders (COCOMs) in combating TIP.
Department of Education (DoEd)
DoEd is working to raise TIP awareness and increase victim identification among schools via a network of school officials and after-school programs. Their Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools develops materials for schools on preventing human trafficking, such as "Human Trafficking of Children in the United States: A Fact Sheet for Schools."
HHS is responsible for certifying foreign victims of human trafficking once they are identified. HHS issues certification letters for adult non-U.S. citizens to confer eligibility for certain benefits and services under any Federal or state program or activity to the same extent as a refugee. Benefits and services include: housing or shelter assistance, food assistance, income assistance, employment assistance, English language training, health care assistance, mental health services and assistance for victims of torture. HHS issues similar letters of eligibility for non-U.S. child victims of human trafficking (under age 18), who are immediately eligible for services and benefits to the same extent as refugees, once HHS has received proof that the child is a victim of trafficking. HHS funding focuses on TIP victim assistance and increasing awareness and identification of foreign and internally trafficked victims in the United States. HHS funds the Rescue & Restore public awareness campaign and the National Human Trafficking Resource Center with an information hotline at 1-888-3737-888.
DHS investigates cases of trafficking and is an important partner in victim identification through investigations conducted by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE investigates human trafficking cases both domestically and abroad. Suspicious activity associated with trafficking in persons can be reported to ICE’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE. ICE’s antitrafficking enforcement activities also include providing training and support to international and domestic law enforcement. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) awards T-visas and coordinates with ICE's Parole and Humanitarian Assistance Office on awarding continued presence status.
Department of Justice (DOJ)
The DOJ Civil Rights Division's Criminal Section has the primary responsibility for the forced labor, sex trafficking, involuntary servitude and peonage statutes. It works closely with the FBI, DHS/ICE, other federal and local law enforcement agencies, U.S. Attorneys Offices, and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) to investigate and prosecute cases of trafficking in persons and worker exploitation. The Civil Rights Division also funds and staffs its national complaint line for reporting trafficking crimes at 1-888-428-7581. CEOS, in conjunction with federal and local law enforcement agencies, focuses on cases involving child sex trafficking, such as children exploited in prostitution in the U.S. and child sex tourism. The Bureau of Justice Assistance funds domestic programs such as the anti-trafficking Task Forces. The Office of Victims of Crime provides assistance to TIP victims prior to certification. The National Institute of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Statistics conducts TIP research. The Office of Legal Policy produces the Attorney General’s Annual Report to Congress on U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons and the Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons.
Department of Labor (DOL)
DOL offers programs such as 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, through its One Stop Career Center System - which victims can access after HHS certification. DOL’s Job Corps program assists eligible youths in earning a High School Diploma or GED, obtaining vocational skills training and learning an array of life success skills to become employable, independent and help secure meaningful jobs or opportunities for further education. The Wage and Hour Division also investigates complaints of labor law violation, and is an important partner in the identification of trafficking victims. DOL also funds international anti-trafficking in persons programs that focus on children who are at risk of, or who have been trafficked into exploitive labor or commercial sexual exploitation.
Department of State (DOS)
DOS chairs the information-sharing, interagency working group and Cabinet-level task force responsible for coordinating anti-trafficking policies and programs. The Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) and the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (G/TIP) fund international anti-trafficking programs. G/TIP also produces the annual Trafficking in Persons Report which spotlights modern-day slavery around the world, encourages the work of the civil sector, and is the U.S. Government’s principal diplomatic tool used to engage foreign governments. PRM also funds the Return, Reintegration, and Family Reunification Program for Victims of Trafficking.
The HSTC is an interagency fusion center and clearinghouse that disseminates information and prepares strategic assessments. It brings together law enforcement, intelligence, and diplomatic communities to work together to take action against criminals moving people around the world for profit, exploitation, or in support of terrorism.
As the U.S. Government urges foreign governments to each build a strong interagency body to fight human trafficking, its own interagency working groups actively coordinate U.S. domestic and international efforts to eradicate human trafficking throughout the year. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 authorized the President to establish the President’s Interagency Task Force (PITF), a cabinet-level task force to coordinate federal efforts to combat human trafficking. The PITF is chaired by the Secretary of State and meets at least once a year.