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Report to Congress on the Uses of Funding to Combat Human Trafficking  
Released by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
June 2008

Report to Congress on the Uses of Funding to Combat Human Trafficking

This Report (H.R. 2764, Senate Report 110-128) Is Submitted to the Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations

Overview
The following information is presented pursuant to a request that the Secretary of State submit a report on “the use of funding to combat human trafficking, including operations of G/TIP and all program funds” (H.R. 2764: Senate Report 110-128). The Committee requested that the report include the proportion of funds managed by G/TIP and by posts in the field because of “its support for a balanced approach that achieves an overall strategic policy and provides flexibility for posts to respond to trafficking issues in the field.”

Background
Since enactment of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) trafficking in persons has become increasingly recognized as a transnational crime that violates the most basic human rights and dignity of a person and requires a global response. Men, women and children are subjected to sexual exploitation or labor exploitation, such as forced labor, debt bondage, and slavery. It is estimated that 800,000 people are trafficked across borders and millions are trafficked within the borders of a country.1 Many countries are considered “source countries” where people fall prey to the deceptive practices of traffickers; many are “transit countries” through which victims are moved or transit; and many are "destination countries" where victims are exploited for profit. While many countries have passed anti-trafficking legislation and have taken steps to combat human trafficking, scores of countries lack the resources to adequately address this crime.

The Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (G/TIP) was established under the authority of the TVPA to provide leadership in combating human trafficking worldwide. G/TIP’s mandate includes:

  • Coordinating U.S. efforts to combat trafficking in persons;
  • Conducting public outreach activities to increase awareness and understanding of human trafficking;
  • Reporting annually through the State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report) on the efforts of foreign governments to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons, including efforts to prevent trafficking, hold traffickers accountable, and protect and assist victims; and
  • Administering foreign assistance to help foreign governments, international organizations (IOs), U.S.-based and foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs), universities, faith-based organizations, and other civil society entities to improve the response to human trafficking abroad.

This report was prepared by the Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (G/TIP) and will focus on the foreign assistance program that G/TIP administers. This does not include anti-trafficking projects managed by other offices and Bureaus within the Department and USAID missions.

G/TIP Operation Funds
G/TIP’s operating funds come from the Diplomatic and Consular Programs (D&CP) account and are used to support the administrative functions of the office that enable the TVPA mandates to be fulfilled. The workload of G/TIP continues to rise as more countries are ranked each year in the annual Trafficking in Persons Report to Congress, as more awareness is raised through public outreach, and as monitoring and evaluation of international programs increased. G/TIP’s D&CP funds support travel for staff to engage foreign governments on TIP issues and gather data as well as to monitor and evaluate TIP programs. The Ambassador and staff attend and speak at conferences and other relevant meetings to build awareness, capacity, and cooperation on TIP-related issues. With these funds, G/TIP currently employs four contractors to provide administrative support for the Ambassador, the public affairs and outreach team, and for general office support. D&CP funds also provide the salary of two part-time positions for the office. Supplies and equipment are purchased with this money as well as phone services, printing services, and working capital fund charges. Supplemental training for staff, including specialized language courses, is also financed with these funds. G/TIP has a consistent record of excellent fiscal responsibility with all funds and will strive to continue to maximize the best use of resources to combat human trafficking.

G/TIP Program Funds
G/TIP's anti-trafficking program funds are used primarily to assist countries ranked in the lowest two tiers of the TIP Report: Tier 3 and Tier 2 Watch List countries. Organizations can apply to address identified gaps in anti-trafficking efforts implemented by Tier 2 countries. Funding priority is given to projects that address issues or deficiencies identified in the TIP Reports and Interim Assessments. Additional factors that are considered include the severity and scope of the trafficking problem in the country, the country's financial resources or lack of resources, and the political will on the part of a country's national and/or local government to work cooperatively to address identified TIP problems. The following list, though not exhaustive, identifies the kinds of activities that G/TIP funds:

  • Creating or enhancing cooperative efforts between the criminal justice sector and civil society, especially projects designed to improve victim protection and assistance services
  • Law enforcement-related projects, such as: technical assistance to improve anti-trafficking legislation; development of written anti-TIP policies and procedures for law enforcement agencies; implementation of improved procedures for law enforcement to identify and rescue victims, conduct investigations, protect and assist victims, and prosecute traffickers; and training for law enforcement, immigration officials, prosecutors, and judges
  • Training on trafficking and sexual exploitation/abuse prevention provided by NGOs or IOs for military personnel in peacekeeping operations.
  • Assisting NGOs and/or government agencies to develop, implement, or expand comprehensive services for adult and child victims of sex trafficking or forced labor. Comprehensive services include victim protection, appropriate housing, medical and mental health services, as well as assistance with legal advocacy, immigration status, employment and/or education needs, safe repatriation or other resettlement, and coordination with law enforcement on criminal cases
  • Capacity-building and collaborative efforts between NGOs through mentoring, technical assistance, exchanges, and information-sharing

In 2007, G/TIP awarded $16.5 million for 76 projects in nearly 50 countries and G/TIP continues to monitor the performance of more than 150 ongoing projects. G/TIP-supported programs provide a wide array of services, training and technical assistance that is targeted at improving the response to human trafficking outside of the U.S. A few examples of successful anti-trafficking projects include:

  • The establishment of a model that represents the continuum of shelter placements and services for TIP victims (an assessment center, shelter services, long term foster home care, as well as preparation for and successful placement in employment)
  • The establishment of community vigilance committees that will not only prevent child trafficking but also work to improve the education, social, and economic opportunities for at risk children and their families
  • Law enforcement training programs that include representatives of the continuum of criminal justice professionals who have a role in responding to human trafficking (law enforcement, prosecution, judges, and border/immigration officials) and promote understanding of how these agencies can effectively work together
  • A pioneering project that documented the alarmingly high HIV prevalence rate among Nepalese girls and women who were victims of sex trafficking in India
  • Provision of technical assistance on anti-trafficking legislation in several countries where legislation was key to an improved response
  • Support for NGOs that provide direct assistance and work with the government to improve their treatment of victims of trafficking

G/TIP’s Grant Solicitation and Review Process
G/TIP posts information about funding priorities and the availability of funds for anti-trafficking projects on the Internet at www.state.gov/g/tip. To further our commitment to transparency and to promote a better understanding of the grant application process and expectations of grant recipients, G/TIP conducted a one-day conference for potential applicants in November of 2007. Approximately 200 representatives of NGOs, universities, international organizations, and others attended this “Bidder’s Conference”. Following the Conference, G/TIP posted the material that was presented on the Internet so that those not able to attend the conference could access the information.

G/TIP solicits for proposals via two means: (1) solicitations on www.grants.gov, the portal for U.S. government grants; and (2) a global call for proposals to U.S. Embassies abroad. Solicitations conducted via www.grants.gov involve applicants submitting their proposals through the grants.gov system. The global call for proposals is a partnership between U.S. Embassies and G/TIP. At G/TIP’s request, the U.S. embassy TIP point of contact gathers proposals and convenes the TIP country team, which may include the political officer, a resident legal or law enforcement advisor, other relevant offices, and USAID, to review each proposal. The country team selects up to five proposals that are forwarded to G/TIP for consideration. (For instance, in India, G/TIP requested that the embassy submit up to 10 proposals because of the extent of the human trafficking problem.) The embassy review constitutes the first review of proposals for bilateral projects that are submitted to G/TIP.

Grant proposals that are submitted to G/TIP in response to solicitations for bilateral or regional projects are subjected to a competitive interagency regional review panel that provides an opportunity for input from representatives of G/TIP; the Department’s Office on Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM); the relevant Regional Bureau; other offices within the Department that fund anti-trafficking programs; the USAID regional representative; and the Department of Labor. Proposals submitted via grants.gov in response to solicitations for U.S. NGOs are also subjected to a competitive review panel of experts.

G/TIP anti-trafficking projects are primarily funded as grants, cooperative agreements, or Interagency Agreements and managed by the G/TIP Grants Officer and International Programs Officers. However, some projects are awarded at post if G/TIP and post determine that this would facilitate more effective management of the project. In FY 2007, of the 76 projects that G/TIP funded, 13 (17%) were awarded and monitored at embassies or USAID missions. Examples of projects selected for award overseas are: a technical assistance project for the national police of Ecuador that included the purchase of investigative equipment; a targeted public awareness project in Guinea; grants to indigenous NGOs in Cambodia and Peru; an agreement with the Office of the Attorney General of Panama to support training for law enforcement, prosecutors, and social workers; a small information gathering project in Nepal; a global training conference at the Vatican for women who are members of religious congregations and leaders in combating human trafficking; and a USAID rule of law project in Mexico.

The selection of proposals for funding is based on program priorities and requirements conveyed in the solicitation for proposals. In an ongoing effort to improve the comparability of proposals and the design and effectiveness of anti-trafficking projects, G/TIP revised the solicitations for proposals in FY 2007 and 2008 to explicitly require applicants to clearly articulate goals and objectives, to identify activities to support each goal and objective, and to develop appropriate indicators of success, including targets. The FY 2007 revised solicitation format was recognized as a model for other offices within the Department.

Applicants are asked to review the requirements of specific solicitations to ensure that proposals are complete. To promote fairness in the competitive review process, stated page limits, font size, and required elements are considered. Proposals must be submitted in English. Although variations based on requirements of specific topics may occur, G/TIP solicitations on grants.gov typically include the following proposal format and required elements:

Section 1 - Required Standard Forms (SF-424, SF-424a, and SF-424b)
Section 2 - Abstract (300 words)
Section 3 - Problem Statement
Section 4 - Project Goals/Objectives/Implementation Plan
Section 5 - Organizational Capability
Section 6 - Appendices:
  A. Summary Budget
  B. Line-Item Budget
  C. Budget Narrative
  D. Resumes (Key staff)

The required proposal elements stated in solicitations constitute the basis for evaluating proposals. Each panel recommends proposals for funding to G/TIP’s Director. The results of the review panels are compiled for the review and consideration of the G/TIP Director, who applies a global perspective to the review of all proposals. The G/TIP Director selects proposals that best reflect the programming needs for the specific country as identified in the TIP Report, as well as global and regional program needs. Abstracts of recommended proposals are distributed to the members of the Senior Policy Operating Group (SPOG) for a final review and comment.2 In 2007, most SPOG member comments endorsed the projects and cited the interagency communication and coordination that occurred during the panel review. Following review and approval of recommended projects by the Director of Foreign Assistance, all projects are sent for Congressional Notification.

The multi-step grant process (solicitation of proposals, review at the Embassy, interagency competitive review panels, review of recommended proposals by the G/TIP Director, the clearance process for funding decision memos to the Office of Foreign Assistance, approval by the Director of Foreign Assistance, and Congressional Notification) is labor intensive, involves many offices, and in years past has taken more than 12 months to complete. After the approval of grant projects, G/TIP works to award projects funded with International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE) funds. However, projects funded with Economic Support Funds (ESF) require an additional step. OMB must transfer the ESF funds from USAID to the Department of State and G/TIP. Thus these projects have been awarded six months or more after the projects funded with INCLE funds. In 2007 and 2008, G/TIP has taken several steps to shorten the time from proposal submission to project award, including hiring more program officers, establishing the grants officer and budget officer positions within G/TIP, and more vigorously monitoring the progress of awards. As a result of successful efforts in this regard, G/TIP anticipates making most 2008 grant awards within nine months of receiving proposals.

In response to the FY 2007 grant solicitations, G/TIP received approximately 300 proposals as part of the competitive grant process and the office is in the process of completing awards for 56 projects. Four of these projects (7%) were selected for non-competitive funding based on a sole source justification, primarily due to the previous successful work of the organization and/or the unique capacity of the organization to conduct the work.

In response to three solicitations in FY 2008, G/TIP received about 350 proposals seeking more than $110 million. Competitive interagency panel reviews are currently underway, and G/TIP expects that approximately 60 projects will be selected for funding. In FY 2008, G/TIP will also complete an Operational Plan which is G/TIP’s budget and programmatic proposal for the use of FY 2008 resources and will be approved by the Director of Foreign Assistance.

The three open solicitations that G/TIP published in FY 2008 for viewing on www.grants.gov outlined three strategic programmatic purposes and anticipated levels of funding:

1) “Evaluability Assessments3 of International Anti-Trafficking Programming.” The Department will enter into two cooperative agreements with a maximum amount per award of $200,000. Eligibility is not limited under this opportunity, but significance will be placed on cost-effectiveness. All applications must be submitted via www.grants.gov on or before January 15, 2008, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

2) “International Collaborative Partnerships to Combat Trafficking.” The Department has approximately $1.2 million available for this grant program to support multiple awards with a maximum amount per award of $200,000. Eligibility is limited to not-for-profit organizations subject to 501 (c) (3) of the tax code. Each application must include at least one sub-grant to a locally-based organization as part of a mentorship model. Direct funding for non-U.S. institutions is not available under this announcement. All applications must be submitted via www.grants.gov on or before March 3, 2008, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

3) “International Programs to Combat Trafficking.” The Department has approximately $8.5 million available to fund programs across all regions, and a maximum amount per award of $500,000. Eligibility is not limited under this opportunity, but significance will be placed on cost-effectiveness. Organizations proposing projects with a regional or global scope must submit via www.grants.gov on or before February 12, 2008, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. Applications for programs in individual countries must be submitted to U.S. Embassies in the country where the proposed program will be located. Please note that embassies will determine their own deadlines for local submission. Applicants should also note that G/TIP has requested that embassies submit up to five proposals to G/TIP by February 12, 2008.

Monitoring and Evaluation of G/TIP Projects
Monitoring and evaluation of international programs are essential if foreign assistance is to be effective. The program and grant officers within the Department have monitored anti-trafficking grant projects within the limits of available resources to ensure that project goals and objectives are implemented; that Federal grant funds were expended consistent with the provisions of pertinent statutes, regulations, agency administrative requirements; and that Federal funds are used responsibly.

Grantees are required to submit quarterly program progress and financial reports throughout the project period. Progress and financial reports are due 30 days after the reporting period. Final programmatic and financial reports are due 90 days after the close of the project period. During the course of monitoring grant projects, G/TIP program officers provide technical assistance to grantees to facilitate compliance with policy, program, and financial requirements, and promote success of the project.

In recent years, G/TIP has devoted increased attention and resources on program monitoring and evaluation in order to identify and promote best practices in the field. G/TIP has increased the number of Program Officers (from two to five between 2005 and 2007) and has placed greater emphasis on the development of performance indicators and the conduct of grant monitoring site visits. In addition, G/TIP will support more technical assistance to grantees on measuring program effectiveness through the funding of at least two projects in FY 2008 that will review the measurement of project outcomes and assist grantees to improve where indicated. Also this year, selected projects will receive additional funds, beyond the amount requested, to support stronger documentation of activities and measurement of outcomes.

The U.S. embassy officers are partners in program monitoring. G/TIP notifies the appropriate officer at post when a new grant is awarded; the guidance from G/TIP provides key project information and recommends procedures for embassy participation in monitoring which are subject to embassy staffing and workloads. When G/TIP Program Officers conduct site visits they use a standardized format for review of administrative and programmatic aspects of the project and the TIP point of contact at the embassy usually accompanies the officer on the site visit. This practice facilitates close collaboration between the post and G/TIP and strengthens follow-on monitoring by posts.

Conclusion
G/TIP is striving to make the grant process fair and transparent by standardizing grant related procedures and putting information about funding priorities and opportunities on the G/TIP website for all to access. Additionally, G/TIP works collaboratively with our overseas missions in the solicitation and review of proposals and the monitoring of funded projects. The scope and severity of the problem of human trafficking globally demands our best efforts and G/TIP is committed to ensuring that anti-trafficking foreign assistance is administered in the most effective and efficient manner possible.


1 Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2007.
2 G/TIP recently established a new subcommittee of the SPOG with the mandate of strengthening interagency consultation on anti-trafficking funding projects and ensuring that our respective programs complement each other in furtherance of the Administration’s overall objectives.
3 An Evaluability assessment determines whether a program’s activities and services are sufficiently developed and documented to permit the program to be the subject of evaluation research.


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