Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
December 20, 2007
The President's Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and the Senior Policy Operating Group
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.
In 2003, a senior working level group, the Senior Policy Operating Group (SPOG), was created to follow up on PITF initiatives and to implement U.S. Government anti-trafficking policies and guidelines. The SPOG meets quarterly and is chaired by the Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
Members of the PITF and SPOG include the Departments of State, Justice, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Defense together with the United States Agency for International Development, Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of the Directorate of National Intelligence. The National Security Council, the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, and the Department of Education also regularly participate.
The most recent PITF meeting [pictured right] was chaired by Secretary Condoleezza Rice on October 25, 2007. Participants included: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as Chair; Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao; the Director of National Intelligence Mr. Mike McConnell; Acting Attorney General Mr. Peter Keisler; Assistant to the President on Domestic Policy Mr. Karl Zinsmeister; Deputy National Security Advisor Ambassador James Jeffrey; Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Tevi Troy; Deputy Secretary of Education Mr. Raymond Simon; OMB Associate Director for National Security Programs Mr. Joseph Bowab; Acting USAID Administrator Mrs. Henrietta Fore; U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Mark Dybul; Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel & Readiness Mr. Michael Dominguez; Assistant Secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Julie Myers; and Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Ambassador Mark Lagon.
Agencies discussed new initiatives to fight human trafficking, increased efforts to tackle the demand for trafficking victims, and victim identification and assistance in the United States.
The PITF approved the following resolution reaffirming the victim-centered approach of the TVPA 2000.
PRESIDENT’S INTERAGENCY TASK FORCE ON TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS RESOLUTION
Reaffirming the victim-centered approach of theTrafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000
As a function of U.S. government leadership and implementation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, and international and domestic anti‑trafficking efforts, there has been a paradigm shift around the world in awareness about human trafficking, a strengthened commitment to bringing human traffickers to justice, and a sensitivity that victims are just that – victims.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 was comprehensive in its scope. Victims of sex trafficking and forced labor include foreign nationals and U.S. citizens, women and men, and children and adults. Human traffickers prey on the vulnerable, regardless of nationality, gender, or age. Their ploys are creative and ruthless, designed to trick, coerce, and win the confidence of potential victims, in order to control, exploit, and indeed enslave them.
Seven years following the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the President’s Interagency Task Force on Trafficking in Persons reaffirms the victim-centered approach of this legislation. The purpose of this unique law is to prioritize the abolition of this modern form of slavery, to ensure just and effective punishment of traffickers, and to protect and provide restorative care for trafficking victims. The President’s Interagency Task Force remains committed to actively identifying and assisting all types of human trafficking victims in the United States, and to punishing those who commit this heinous crime.