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 You are in: Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs > Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons > Releases and Remarks > Reports
Assessment of U.S. Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons   -[PDF format]
Released by the U.S. Department of Justice
August 2003

Assessment of U.S. Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons

I. INTRODUCTION

[T]rafficking is nothing less than a modern form of slavery, an unspeakable and unforgivable crime against the most vulnerable members of the global society.

President George W. Bush
October 2, 2002
trafficking of children or by force, fraud or coercion, and unlawful conduct with respect to documents; mandatory restitution; and criminalized attempts to engage in these behaviors; and 

Trafficking in persons is a heinous international crime and human rights abuse. The global magnitude is staggering. According to a 2003 U.S. Government estimate, 800,000 to 900,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year having been bought, sold, transported and held in slavery-like conditions for sex and labor exploitation. The U.S. Government estimates that 18,000 to 20,000 people are trafficked annually into the United States. The nature of this crime -- underground, often under-acknowledged -- contributes to the inability to determine the precise number of people who are victimized by traffickers each year. The scope of this hideous exploitation is wide and varied, but typically involves victims entrapped into commercial sexual exploitation such as prostitution and pornography, or labor exploitation in sweatshops, construction sites and agricultural settings. Additional forms of forced labor and abuse include domestic servitude and forced marriages.

In an era of improved technology, it has become much easier for traffickers -- and their victims -- to move freely across borders. Trafficking is now a transnational criminal enterprise that recognizes neither boundaries nor borders. Profits from trafficking feed into the coffers of organized crime. Trafficking is linked to other criminal activities such as document fraud, money laundering and migrant smuggling. Moreover, as a matter of policy, the U.S. Government opposes prostitution and any related activities as contributing to the phenomenon of trafficking in persons. These activities are inherently harmful and dehumanizing.

The United States has a significant problem with trafficking in persons. The United States is primarily a destination country: people from other countries are trafficked into the United States. As Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has noted: “Trafficking leaves no land untouched, including our own.” The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), Pub. L. 106-386, mandated the Department of State to produce annually a trafficking in persons report, which assesses the efforts of governments around the world to meet minimum standards to combat trafficking (TVPA § 110(b)(1)). That report documents the transnational and intranational forms of trafficking. Section 105(d)(2) of the TVPA mandates an evaluation of the progress of the United States in the areas of trafficking prevention, prosecution and assistance to victims. The U.S. Government has therefore prepared the following Assessment of U.S. Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons.

The Assessment reviews U.S. legislative and executive branch government activities to improve U.S. protections for and assistance to victims trafficked into the United States, to increase successful investigations and prosecutions of traffickers, and to augment international activities to combat trafficking. This Assessment also suggests possible improvements that the U.S. Government may undertake to enhance activities to combat trafficking in persons. This Assessment contrasts current activities with the recommendations put forward in a 2000 assessment of U.S. anti-trafficking activities entitled, International Trafficking in Women to the United States: A Contemporary Manifestation of Slavery and Organized Crime (hereinafter referred to as the “2000 Trafficking Monograph”).1 The 2000 Trafficking Monograph provides a useful measure by which we can evaluate our anti-trafficking activities in 2003 and see ways to move forward.2

1Amy O’Neill Richard, International Trafficking in Women to the United States: A Contemporary Manifestation of Slavery and Organized Crime 44-46 (2000).

2This report focuses on the trafficking of people from other countries into the United States. As documented by several National Institute of Justice studies mentioned later in this Assessment, the trafficking of youth into sexual exploitation within the United States is also a serious problem. According to one of these, there are over 200,000 youth who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation in the United States. For further information regarding the extent of such exploitation in the United States, see Richard J. Estes and Neil Alan Weiner, The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the United States, Canada and Mexico (2001) available at http://www.ssw.upenn.edu/home/research/este-99-02.html. In addition, in the autumn of 2002 the White House held two conferences on the exploitation of youth and the Department of Justice held a summit on the prostitution of youth.

II. U.S. LAW ON TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS Although slavery and involuntary servitude have been outlawed throughout the United States since 1865 (see U.S. CONSTITUTION, Amendment XIII, § 1), the 2000 Trafficking Monograph called for a variety of statutory changes to extant law. Many of these changes were made through the TVPA, signed into law on October 28, 2000. The TVPA enhanced three aspects of federal government activity to combat trafficking in persons: it provided for a range of new protections and assistance for victims of trafficking in persons; it expanded the crimes and enhanced the penalties available to federal investigators and prosecutors pursuing traffickers; and it expanded U.S. activities internationally to prevent victims from being trafficked in the first place. Specifically, the TVPA:

  • Provided for victim assistance in the United States by making trafficking victims eligible for federally funded or administered health and other benefits and services as if they were refugees; mandating U.S. Government protections for victims of trafficking and, where applicable, their families; protecting certain trafficking victims who cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking from removal; and allowing T nonimmigrant status holders to adjust to permanent resident status;

  • Created new crimes and enhanced penalties for existing crimes including forced labor, trafficking with respect to peonage, slavery, involuntary servitude, or forced labor, sex
  • Provided assistance to foreign countries in drafting laws to prohibit and punish acts of trafficking, strengthening investigation and prosecution of traffickers, and creating programs to assist victims, and expanded U.S. Government exchange and international visitor programs focusing on trafficking.

With this new, comprehensive approach to the problem, the TVPA created significant new responsibilities for several federal government agencies, including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Justice, Labor, and State, the United States Agency for International Development, and agencies now incorporated into the newly-created Department of Homeland Security.

III. EXECUTIVE BRANCH ACTIVITIES TO COMBAT TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS The U.S. Government condemns trafficking in persons as an affront to human dignity and a heinous crime, and is committed to eradicating it through means including: identifying, protecting, and assisting those victims exploited by traffickers; vigorously enforcing U.S. laws against all those who traffic in persons; raising awareness at home and abroad about human trafficking and how it can be eradicated; reducing the vulnerability of individuals to trafficking through increased education, economic opportunity, and protection and promotion of human rights; working with nongovernmental organizations; and employing diplomatic and foreign policy tools to encourage other nations, the United Nations, and other multilateral institutions to work with us to combat this crime, to draft and enforce laws against trafficking, and to hold accountable those engaged in it. We believe the U.S. Government has demonstrated this commitment through the means listed below, but we also recognize and point out areas where there is room for improvement.

A. Estimating the Scope and Magnitude of the Problem of People Trafficked into the United States In 1998, the U.S. Government estimated that 700,000 people are trafficked annually worldwide and 45,000 to 50,000 people, predominantly women and children, are trafficked each year into the United States for sexual exploitation or forced labor. This estimate was a compilation of data from 1997. Since then, the statistic has been cited in a variety of contexts -- including in the TVPA -- as a measure of how many victims end up in the United States every year. The numbers have recently been updated.

As of May 2003, the U.S. Government estimates that 18,000 to 20,000 people are trafficked annually into the United States. This estimate covers men, women and children trafficked across borders and recruited, harbored, transported, provided or obtained for forced labor or sexual exploitation -- “severe forms of trafficking” as defined in the TVPA. This estimate is a weighted average of U.S. Government data, other published estimates, and a census of known and suspected trafficking cases. This estimate is not comparable to the original U.S. Government estimate in 1997. Differences in the two estimates reflect improvements in data collection and methodology rather than trends in trafficking.

Some research regarding trafficking in persons has been conducted or funded by the U.S. Government, although little research has been done on trafficking into the United States. For instance, the National Institute of Justice has funded four trafficking studies that have been completed: 1) the commercial sexual exploitation of children in North America; 2) sex trafficking of women in three regional U.S. cities and the links between international and domestic sex industries; 3) trafficking in women from Ukraine; and 4) social organization of human trafficking in China. Three other projects related to trafficking into the United States are now pending, as well as a needs assessment for service providers and trafficking victims and an evaluation of services provided to those victims. None of these U.S. Government-funded studies will provide a nation-wide estimate of the scope or magnitude of trafficking of persons into the United States or comprehensively address trafficking trends to and within the United States. Such analysis would be useful to understanding the scope and magnitude of trafficking in the United States.

B. Creation of a Cabinet-Level Task Force, Senior Operating Group, and Anti-Trafficking Office The Bush Administration recognizes that trafficking is a global phenomenon and a problem that affects America whose elimination will require concerted U.S. Government efforts. In February 2002, pursuant to the TVPA, President George W. Bush established a Cabinet-level Interagency Task Force to Combat and Monitor Trafficking in Persons. This Task Force is chaired by the Secretary of State and includes the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of Central Intelligence, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. The Task Force’s responsibilities include coordination and implementation of the Administration’s anti-trafficking activities. At the Task Force’s only meeting in February 2002, the Cabinet-level officials created a Senior Policy Advisory Group to coordinate and advise on key policy and program issues. The group, now entitled the Senior Policy Operating Group under a statute from Congress in March 2003, is actively crafting effective interagency coordination and implementation plans, including grants policy guidelines; the group plans to meet every few months or more often as needed. As authorized by the TVPA, the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons was opened at the Department of State in October 2001 to support the activities of the Task Force. It is also responsible for producing the annual trafficking in persons report. In December 2002, President Bush also issued a National Security Presidential Directive on Trafficking in Persons, mandating cooperation among federal agencies to assist victims, investigate and prosecute traffickers and provide international assistance. Mandating such cooperation from the top is important, as is the actual implementation of such policies on the ground. Examples of such cooperation in the implementation of anti-trafficking efforts are found throughout this Assessmentreceive medical, mental health, and legal services,” as well as temporary shelter. As the following description makes clear, the United States has made great strides in providing for these benefits and services.

C. Protections for and Assistance to Victims of Trafficking 1. Access to benefits and services In 2003, the U.S. Government is providing identified victims of trafficking with a fresh start. As Department of Health and Human Services’ Deputy Secretary Claude A. Allen stated in 2003: “While the Department of Justice will prosecute offenders, we at HHS will look at how to provide financial support, basic medical care, shelter, and counseling to the victims. The lives of these women and children have been destroyed, and we are there to help them rebuild what is left and to give them hope.”

The 2000 Trafficking Monograph stressed the need for trafficking victims to

In the United States, a person's eligibility for benefits and services is often linked to his or her immigration status. Most trafficking victims do not come to the United States with an immigration status that would allow them to receive assistance. The TVPA, however, allows for federally funded or administered benefits and services, such as cash assistance, medical care, food stamps, and housing, to be available for certain noncitizen trafficking victims.

The Department of Health and Human Services provides certification and eligibility letters for victims that allow them to access most benefits and services comparable to the assistance provided to refugees. Since the enactment of the TVPA, the Department of Health and Human Services has issued nearly 400 certifications to trafficking victims and has also provided 28 benefits eligibility letters to child trafficking victims, who do not need to be certified, but may access these same benefits.

In many ways, the U.S. Government’s programs that provide benefits and services to refugees provide a strong infrastructure for assisting trafficking victims. The refugee programs are designed for people who have suffered persecution or torture, have been torn away from everything that is familiar to them, and need to rebuild their lives in a new place where they may not understand the culture or speak the language. Nonetheless, in some cases, the refugee programs may not meet all of the needs of trafficking victims. To fill the gaps, as of February 2003, the Department of Health and Human Services had awarded over $4.6 million in grants to 22 organizations for services geared specifically toward trafficking victims and for outreach to them. In March 2003, the Department of Health and Human Services issued approximately $3.5 million to fifteen organizations to provide assistance specific to the needs of victims of trafficking, including temporary housing, independent living skills, cultural orientation, and transportation needs, as well as access to appropriate educational programs and legal assistance and referrals. In addition to such benefits and services, the Department of Health and Human Services may provide trafficking victims with intensive case management programs to help them find housing and employment and provide assistance for victims of torture, mental health counseling, and specialized foster care programs for children. Child trafficking victims may be placed with caring families that understand their cultural background and can speak their language. There are also therapeutic placements for children with special needs.

While the Department of Health and Human Services serves victims after there has been a certification that the victims are victims and are cooperating with law enforcement, there is a need for emergency services to be available to victims as soon as they have been encountered. In January 2003, the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) awarded twelve grants totaling more than $9.5 million to various non-governmental organizations for the purpose of providing trafficking victims with comprehensive or specialized services, and for the purpose of providing these grantees training and technical assistance for program support and enhancement. These OVC grants support services for victims during the “precertification” period. The Department of Health and Human Services grants provide after certification for services to trafficking victims to the same extent as for refugees.3

3It should be noted that the Department of Health and Human Services’ and OVC’s victim assistance funds are available to alien trafficking victims who are trafficked internationally into the United States as well as to alien victims who are trafficked internally, but not to U.S. citizen victims of trafficking. Based on the statutory language and legislative history creating the grant programs that assist victims, the Department of Health and Human Services’ grant moneys apply to “aliens” and the OVC grant moneys go towards the “precertification” period of victims, which logically only apply to those who need to be certified to receive benefits and services, i.e., aliens. In most circumstances, U.S. citizens would be eligible for assistance, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, and food stamps, that, absent this law, would otherwise be barred to non-citizen trafficking victims on the basis of their immigration status. To the extent, however, that non-citizen trafficking victims can access federally-funded refugee assistance, the provision of that assistance to U.S. citizen victims would require a statutory amendment

Victims also receive access to temporary shelter. As part of the OVC grants, grantee organizations must provide comprehensive services, including housing. Some have partnered with shelters to ensure that trafficking victims have access to shelters appropriate for their needs. One grantee plans to develop transitional housing, which could last for months, instead of the current norm of days or weeks. At the present time, these housing options are available in the geographical areas where grantees are working, and thus do not cover the entire country; however, federal agencies have worked with the grantees to effect placements for victims when the trafficking occurred elsewhere. One of the OVC supplemental services grantees is working with several of its geographical divisions to develop more comprehensive and appropriate services for victims of sex trafficking at its local shelters. As victims continue to come to the attention of federal authorities and seek shelter, the U.S. Government will determine whether comprehensive services are being provided in the appropriate geographical locations. New options for relocating services to underserved areas will be available with the $10 million for additional OVC grants planned in the Fiscal Year 2003 Congressional appropriation.

The Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) sent a Directive to its field offices outlining the provisions of the TVPA and explaining the obligation to provide ETA services to victims. The services provided at ETA One-Stop Career Centers -- such as job search assistance, career counseling, and occupational skills training -- may be of significant value to trafficking victims. The Job Corps program also may provide useful job training opportunities.

Victims of trafficking often need legal assistance with immigration and other matters. Since the passage of the TVPA, the Legal Services Corporation may provide legal assistance to trafficking victims, and has instructed its lawyers to do so. (See TVPA § 107(b).) The Legal Services Corporation is a private, non-profit corporation established by Congress which funds legal aid programs around the nation to help poor Americans gain equal access to the civil justice system. Victims may now receive representation from the Legal Services Corporation because of the new provision in the TVPA. In addition, some of the OVC and the Department of Health and Human Services grants provide for legal services to victims.

The greatest challenge for the immediate future is locating and identifying victims. In contrast to the estimate that tens of thousands of victims of trafficking end up in the United States every year, the U.S. Government has assisted on the order of 450 victims since enactment of the TVPA. Clearly we need to do more to bring forward victims. We plan to engage in a variety of outreach and training activities to meet this need; these activities are outlined in Section 5.

2. Victims’ knowledge regarding protections available to them as well as their rights The 2000 Trafficking Monograph recommended that trafficking victims should receive information about their rights and translation services. In 2003, trafficking victims are receiving information from federal authorities about the rights and protections available to them. Under new provisions in the TVPA’s § 107(c) and in other victim-witness laws, federal authorities are required to identify trafficking victims and provide them with information about their rights and protections. The Departments of State, Justice, and Homeland Security are implementing this mandate. A regulation (see 66 Fed. Reg. 38514 (July 24, 2001)) was issued outlining procedures for appropriate federal employees to ensure to the extent practicable that victims are housed in a manner appropriate to their status as crime victims, afforded proper medical care and other assistance and protected while in federal custody. In addition, this regulation outlines procedures to provide victims with information about their rights and applicable services, such as pro bono and low-cost legal services, including immigration services; federal and state benefits and services as if they were refugees; services from victim service organizations including domestic violence and rape crisis centers; protections available, especially against threats and intimidation; rights of individual privacy and confidentiality issues; victim compensation and assistance programs; immigration benefits or programs that may be relevant to trafficking victims; right to restitution; right to notification of case status; and availability of medical services. Federal agencies also have to ensure reasonable access to translation services. See 28 CFR § 1100.33. http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/crim/wetf/victimsbrochure.pdf and http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/crim/wetf/trafficbrochure.pdf. The nongovernmental organization brochures have been distributed to thousands of organizations within the United States likely to encounter trafficking victims, such as immigrants’ organizations, migrant worker organizations, and rape crisis and domestic violence shelters. The victim brochures have been translated into Spanish, Korean and Russian and are given out to victims when encountered by federal law enforcement. The U.S. Government reassesses regularly whether the brochures should be translated into additional languages.

In part to implement this regulation, the Departments of Labor, Justice, State, and Health and Human Services developed brochures for nongovernmental organizations and trafficking victims about new rights and services available to trafficking victims identified within the United States, as well as brochures that are given to trafficking victims when law enforcement encounters them. These brochures are available on various agencies’ websites, including at

3. Repatriation for victims who choose to go home The 2000 Trafficking Monograph called for better reintegration initiatives. Although most trafficking victims have chosen to remain in the United States, some have requested repatriation to their home countries, either during the investigation of traffickers or upon its conclusion. In one case, a group of juvenile victims requested reunification with their families in their native country, though the victims were willing to return to the United States to testify against the traffickers at trial. In another investigation, a victim of Indo-Nepalese origin requested repatriation to India in order to be reunited with her daughter. In these few instances, the Department of Justice assisted in maintaining housing and victim benefits pending repatriation, which was coordinated through the Department of State. U.S. Government personnel have established links with foreign governments and nongovernmental organizations to facilitate the victim’s return and to ensure that the victim is not trafficked again; often these activities are under the auspices of programs funded by the Department of State. If more people choose to return home in the future, the U.S. Government can adapt its repatriation efforts accordingly.

4. Immigration relief Under the TVPA, victims of trafficking in persons are eligible for newly-created immigration benefits. Victims may be authorized “continued presence” to temporarily remain in the United States if federal law enforcement determines that they are potential witnesses to trafficking and submits a request on their behalf to the Department of Homeland Security. Victims may also petition the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services within the Department of Homeland Security to receive T nonimmigrant status, a status available to victims who have complied with reasonable requests for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of acts of trafficking. Victims who receive T nonimmigrant status may remain in the United States for three years, and then may apply for lawful permanent residency subject to certain statutory criteria. The Departments of State and Justice have issued regulations to implement the continued presence provisions of the TVPA (66 Fed. Reg. 38514 (July 24, 2001)), and the Department of Justice has issued regulations allowing for applications for T nonimmigrant status (67 Fed. Reg 4784 (January 31, 2002)). These benefits are now available to eligible applicants. The United States is currently the only country that offers the possibility of permanent residency to victims of trafficking.

Approximately 450 victims of trafficking have accessed immigration benefits. Specifically, as of June 30, 2003, the Department of Homeland Security4 had granted about 370 continued presence requests and received 453 T nonimmigrant status applications, 172 of which have resulted in T nonimmigrant status grants, thirteen of which were denied, and the remaining 238 of which are pending. These pending applications have been noticed for fingerprints and are awaiting responses to requests for evidence.

4As of March 1, 2003, the functions of the Immigration and Naturalization Service were transferred to the Department of Homeland Security and placed within Directorate of Border and Transportation Security and the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

When the Department of Justice issued regulations outlining the eligibility requirements for T nonimmigrant status, it included a provision that noncitizens victimized prior to passage of the TVPA needed to apply by the end of January 2003. Those victimized in the past are included in the 453 total. The U.S. Government is uncertain whether many more people were victimized in the past and chose not to apply, or whether this was the universe of all eligible victims. Federal prosecutors made efforts to reach out to victims whose cases they were handling or had handled in the past to let them know about the availability of such benefits. The INS also engaged in outreach efforts to bring these new benefits to the attention of victims.

5. Outreach and training with nongovernmental organizations and the public Because of the significant difference between the estimated number of people trafficked into the United States annually and the number of victims that the U.S. Government has reached through investigations, prosecutions, Health and Human Services’ certifications, and provision of immigration benefits, the U.S. Government is concerned that there may be many more victims currently in the United States. The U.S. Government is employing several strategies to improve its contact with victims. Foremost among these is the expansion of outreach activities.

Nongovernmental organizations have been vital to the U.S. Government’s efforts to identify and help trafficking victims as well as prosecute trafficking cases. The U.S. Government engages in extensive outreach to nongovernmental organizations, which are often the first point of contact with trafficking victims. These contacts foster good relations with groups that receive and shelter trafficking victims and are often in a position to encourage victims to come forward and report their abuses. Additionally, in those situations where law enforcement is actively involved in liberating victims from servitude, some nongovernmental organizations can provide “safe houses” for the victims. U.S. Government personnel have been working closely with nongovernmental organizations across the country to train service providers on the victim services and criminal provisions of the TVPA. Through such training, federal prosecutors, immigration officials and Health and Human Services’ personnel have forged good relationships with nongovernmental organizations, learned about potential new cases, acquired nongovernmental organizations’ assistance in procuring refuge and support for trafficking victims, educated nongovernmental organizations on the requirements for identifying a victim of a severe form of trafficking, and trained service providers on the roles that they can play to contribute toward the success of a trafficking investigation and prosecution. Training of and with nongovernmental organizations has taken place in the Washington, DC metropolitan area; New York City; Chicago, Illinois; San Diego, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Dallas, Texas; and several other cities.

In February 2000, the Department of Justice established a toll-free Trafficking in Persons and Worker Exploitation Complaint Line. Over one-half of investigations instituted since then have been the result of calls to the Complaint Line. As a result of the Department of Justice’s outreach and public education campaigns, the Complaint Line has received increased publicity, and is now an important means by which victims, witnesses, good Samaritans, and others report potential trafficking matters to the U.S. Government. For instance, in a recent case, the Complaint Line received a call relaying allegations that an Eritrean domestic worker had been held captive in the home of suspected traffickers for approximately twelve years. Within three weeks, Civil Rights Division prosecutors, with Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and nongovernmental organization partners, conducted an operation to secure the victim’s liberation. While the criminal investigation proceeds as of this writing, the victim is receiving TVPA victim services and has been reunited with family members.

The need for outreach is continual. The Department of Health and Human Services is planning a $2 million outreach program in Fiscal Year 2003 to attempt to identify and serve more victims and to educate the public about human trafficking and benefits and services for victims. Public service announcements may well be a part of such an endeavor. As part of their outreach efforts, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and Justice are developing intake procedures for individuals who seek out benefits in the United States in order to bring more victims to the government’s attention. To improve the understanding by nongovernmental organizations of interactions between victims and the U.S. Government, the U.S. Government is developing a protocol to explain to nongovernmental organizations the processes that have an impact on victims, and the contact information for federal officials who may be able to help.

D. Investigations and Prosecutions of Traffickers 1. Trafficking in persons cases Human trafficking cases are among the most labor- and time-intensive criminal investigations undertaken by the U.S. Government. They often involve large numbers of victims, language barriers, multiple investigating agencies, overseas investigations, and, in many cases, severe sexual, physical or emotional traumatization of victims and witnesses, requiring the expertise of various professionals, including rape counselors, psychiatrists, physicians, and child interview specialists.

The Department of Justice’s trafficking caseload has grown steadily. As of March 2003, there were 128 open trafficking investigations -- nearly twice as many as were open in January 2001. Whether trafficking comes to attention of law enforcement through the Complaint Line or other law enforcement-initiated means, the FBI and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the Department of Homeland Security investigate trafficking-related criminal offenses leading to the prosecution of traffickers.

The Department of Justice has initiated more than double the number of trafficking prosecutions (20 vs. 9), involving more than three times the number of defendants (79 vs. 24) in Fiscal Years 2001-2002, when the TVPA was in effect, than in Fiscal Years 1999-2000, years which predated it. In addition, the number of defendants successfully prosecuted increased more than two-fold (51 vs. 23) (see chart below). During those same four years, with respect to cases that involved commercial sex exploitation or abuse of victims, the Department doubled the number of cases filed (11 vs. 5), quadrupled the number of defendants charged (53 vs.13), and tripled the number of defendants successfully prosecuted (38 vs.12) (see chart below)5. As these numbers demonstrate, the TVPA has greatly enhanced the U.S. Government’s ability to uncover and prosecute sex and labor trafficking cases. Nonetheless, in relation to the estimated magnitude of the problem, the number of cases remains low.

5Moreover, at least one federal case involving totally domestic commercial sexual exploitation -- a child prostitution case -- invoked the TVPA provisions.

Overall Trafficking in Persons Case Statistics

Fiscal Year/ Events FY 99-00 FY 01-02
Cases Filed 9 20
Defendants Charged 24 79
Convictions and Pleas 23 516
Victims Protected 30 315*

6The difference between 51 convictions and pleas and 79 defendants charged reflects different cases: 79 is the number of defendants charged during Fiscal Years ‘01-‘02; many of their cases have not yet been resolved and therefore have yet to result in convictions and pleas.

*The comparatively large number of victims in Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002 is due primarily to the indictment obtained in United States v. Kil Soo Lee, which involved over 200 victims.

Of Those, Cases Involving Sexual Exploitation or Abuse of Victims

Fiscal Year/ Events FY 99-00 FY 01-02
Cases Filed 5 11
Defendants Charged 13 53
Convictions and Pleas 12 38
 Victims Protected 20 91

The Department of Labor continues to increase its emphasis on compliance with labor standards laws, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act and Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, in low-wage industries like garment manufacturing and agriculture. These industries include a substantial concentration of undocumented, and sometimes trafficked, workers. Department of Labor civil law enforcement responsibilities relating to trafficking are carried out by the Wage and Hour Division with the support of the Solicitor's Office. Wage and Hour investigators are in workplaces every day, and often are the first government authorities to witness exploitive conditions and to talk to victims. These investigators collaborate closely with Department of Justice criminal investigators, notably through the federal Trafficking in Persons and Worker Exploitation Task Force, which coordinates trafficking investigations.

As the rate of reporting of trafficking crimes has increased, it has become clear that no state or territory is immune to human trafficking. Trafficking investigations have been initiated in every state and territory of the United States except Delaware, Maine, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Wyoming. Moreover, trafficking investigations to date have involved victims transported from countries around the world.

The 2000 Trafficking Monograph suggested many improvements in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers, most of which the U.S. Government has begun to undertake. For example, the 2000 Trafficking Monograph suggests that the Attorney General create task forces through local U.S. Attorneys’ Offices where the greatest number of trafficking incidents occurs. Such task forces are currently being developed. Prosecutors are assisting efforts to develop regional anti-trafficking task forces in New York City; Florida; Chicago, Illinois; Cleveland, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Los Angeles, California; Atlanta, Georgia; and San Diego, California; in partnership with nongovernmental organizations, local and federal law enforcement agencies, and United States Attorneys’ Offices. Since the start of Fiscal Year 2002, multiple anti-trafficking task force meetings and training sessions have taken place or are being organized for the listed cities. The U.S. Government is aware, however, that such task forces are difficult to sustain long-term unless a case arises to activate them. As such, the development of task forces is an ongoing endeavor.

Coordination in Largest-Ever Trafficking Case: United States v. Kil Soo Lee In United States v. Kil Soo Lee, Department of Labor, immigration, and FBI investigators worked collaboratively to investigate a trafficking case involving 200 Vietnamese and Chinese nationals, mostly young women, brought from Vietnam to American Samoa by the defendants to work as sewing machine operators in a Daewoosa garment factory in American Samoa. The victims, some of whom were held for up to two years, were forced to work through extreme food deprivation, beatings and physical restraint. The victims were held in barracks on a guarded company compound, and were threatened with confiscation of their passports, deportation, economic bankruptcy, severe economic hardship to family members, false arrest, and a host of other consequences. One victim had an eye gouged out by a defendant who struck her with a jagged pipe in order to punish her for refusing to comply with the defendants’ orders. This case was prosecuted by the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division. On February 21, 2003, a jury convicted Lee, the owner of the factory and leader of the operation, on nearly all counts. Two other defendants pled guilty. Lee faces a substantial prison term. Sentencing is expected in December 2003.

The 2000 Trafficking Monograph articulated a desire by prosecutors to have strengthened criminal laws and penalties against traffickers. The TVPA provided such improvements in the form of new crimes: forced labor; trafficking with respect to peonage, slavery, involuntary servitude, or forced labor; sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud or coercion; and unlawful conduct with respect to documents in furtherance of trafficking, peonage, slavery, involuntary servitude, or forced labor; mandatory restitution; and attempts to engage in these behaviors. The new law also substantially increased the maximum penalties for crimes previously associated with the Mann Act -- transportation for sexual exploitation. Nonetheless, there continue to be refinements to the federal criminal law that would prove useful. The Department of Justice is working with Congress on specific legislative fixes to the criminal provisions of the TVPA to ensure that more traffickers may be brought to justice and that behaviors that may lead to trafficking, such as sex tourism, are prosecuted more effectively.

Several commentators suggest that a contributing factor to trafficking in persons may be the complicity of some public officials at the local, state or federal level with traffickers. The U.S. Government has not identified any cases in which federal officials within the United States are alleged to have been complicit in human trafficking. Were we to discover such a situation, the subject officials would be investigated and, if appropriate, prosecuted under relevant criminal statutes. The 2000 Trafficking Monograph (at page 15) mentions local police officers conspiring with brothel owners in one city as an example of public corruption in the United States, and (at page 13) references generally that trafficking can be intertwined with the corruption of public officials. There have been instances of U.S. Embassy or Consular employees accused of providing visas unlawfully, and these cases have been dealt with through dismissal, administrative procedures and prosecution, where appropriate; by confronting such improper behavior promptly and effectively, the U.S. Government is addressing the potential for misuse of the visa process for trafficking. Moreover, the U.S. Government investigates and prosecutes public corruption as it would any federal criminal matter, and takes very seriously any allegations of complicity in such heinous acts.

2. Sentences in trafficking cases The TVPA specifically amended and created various sentencing guidelines to provide higher sentences for trafficking cases. It also created a mandatory restitution section and a forfeiture provision. These three sections should work together to ensure that defendants convicted of trafficking in persons receive sentences that reflect the seriousness of their crimes.

In response to the new statute’s requirements, the U.S. Sentencing Commission implemented guidelines that characterize human trafficking offenses as crimes for which sentences should be increased if the conduct involved a large number of victims, a pattern of continued and flagrant violations, the use or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, or death or bodily injury to the victim. Other factors that could impact a sentence include the amount of time the victims were held in servitude, the vulnerability of the victims, whether the victims were restrained, and whether the defendant’s motivation involved bias. A sentence can also be affected by the defendant’s prior criminal history, his or her role in the crime, and his or her willingness to accept responsibility. Because the criminal provisions of the TVPA cannot be applied retroactively, however, there have been to date only a handful of cases prosecuted in which the enhanced sentencing provisions apply, and the bulk of these cases have been or will be sentenced in Fiscal Years 2003 and 2004. These considerations are important in reviewing any comparative sentencing data.

The Department of Justice reviewed the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts criminal database to preliminarily calculate average sentence length for cases completed in Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002 that clearly involved severe forms of trafficking in persons as defined by the TVPA.7 The pre-existing servitude statutes and the TVPA’s criminal provisions are set forth in the peonage and slavery chapter, which contains statutes that prohibit the holding of persons in coerced labor or service and are thus facially severe forms of trafficking. Other cases are brought under the “Transportation for Illegal Sexual Activity” chapter (“Mann Act”), which prohibits child sex tourism and transportation of persons for prostitution. Many Mann Act cases do not involve severe forms of trafficking in persons as defined in the TVPA; to search the database for whether a Mann Act violation involved a severe form of trafficking, it is necessary to analyze whether the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines’ enhancement for use of force, fraud, or coercion was applied. Additionally, because court records track the statutes involved rather than the underlying facts of each case, the search was unable to determine sentences in trafficking prosecutions where victims were subjected to severe forms of trafficking and received TVPA benefits, but defendants pled guilty to offenses whose elements do not track the TVPA definition, such as immigration violations or visa fraud.

The database was searched for peonage/slavery offenses such as 18 U.S.C. §§ 1581(peonage), 1582 (vessels for slave trade), 1583 (enticement for slavery), 1584 (sale into involuntary servitude), 1589 (forced labor), and 1591 (sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud or coercion), as well as Mann Act offenses such as 18 U.S.C.§§ 2421 (knowingly transporting a person with the intent such individual will engage in illegal sexual activity), 2422 (coercion and enticement), 2423 (transportation of minors), and 2424 (filing factual statement about alien), cross-referenced to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Section 3G1.1. The database reflected 17 persons sentenced in trafficking cases in 2001, carrying an average prison term of 153.8 months incarceration.8 To place this in context, in Fiscal Year 2001, 153 persons were sentenced to prison under Mann Act offenses, with an average term imposed of 60.7 months incarceration. As of this writing, detailed Sentencing Guidelines information is not yet available to allow a determination of how many of the 2002 prosecutions involved severe forms of trafficking.

7 The TVPA defines "severe forms of trafficking in persons" as (A) sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or (B) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

8 One defendant, the abused wife of the trafficker, received twelve months probation.

In November 2002, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines were permanently amended to incorporate the TVPA offenses into the Guidelines. The sentencing guideline for trafficking offenses was increased to punish the use or brandishing of a dangerous weapon, and new provisions were adopted to provide for gradations among trafficking and related offenses. As can be seen from the following examples, cases sentenced under these new Guidelines in Fiscal Year 2003 reflect the stiff penalties under the TVPA.

Examples of case sentences: United States v. Jimenez-Calderon (Indictment 9/26/02)(D. NJ)
A Mexican family lured and smuggled girls and women from small towns in Mexico to the United States with false promises of marriage, only to force them into prostitution in New Jersey and maintain their service through physical violence and threats. Two defendants who pled guilty to conspiracy and sex trafficking charges were sentenced to 210 months incarceration and a county jail employee who pled guilty to obstruction of justice for assisting the traffickers was sentenced to sixteen months incarceration. As of this writing, restitution amounts are under review by the court and three other members of the conspiracy are awaiting sentencing, having pled guilty to sex trafficking charges. Two other members of the family are fugitives and remain charged with a number of trafficking violations, including involuntary servitude, sex trafficking, and transportation for immoral purposes.

United States v. Alamin and Akhter (Indictment 11/16/00) (C.D. Cal.)
A Bangladeshi couple brought the victim from Saudi Arabia to the United States to work for them as a live-in housekeeper and nanny, forcing the victim to perform domestic work for little or no pay by repeatedly beating her and threatening to harm her and her family in Bangladesh if she ran away. Akhter, who pled guilty to an immigration violation, was sentenced to 16 months in prison. Alamin was convicted of conspiracy and involuntary servitude charges at trial and was sentenced to 135 months in prison. Both defendants were ordered to pay $125,819 restitution to the victim.

United States v. Satia and Nanji (Indictment 2/7/01) (D. Md.)
Two defendants convicted of holding a teenage Cameroonian girl in involuntary servitude and illegally harboring her in their home to use her as their domestic servant were each sentenced to 108 months in prison and ordered to pay $105,306.64 restitution to the victim. The defendants were convicted of involuntary servitude, conspiracy, and harboring the victim for their own financial benefit. The defendants recruited the 14-year-old female Cameroonian national to the United States with false promises of attending a U.S. school. Once the young girl arrived here, she was isolated in the defendants’ home and forced through threats, sexual assaults, and physical abuse to work for them for several years as their personal servant. 

United States v. Sardar and Nadira Gasanov (Indictment 8/15/01) (W.D. Tex.)
A Russian couple convicted of recruiting women from Uzbekistan into the United States under false pretenses, then pressuring them to work in strip clubs and bars in El Paso, Texas in order to pay back an alleged $300,000 smuggling fee, were sentenced to 60 months in prison to be followed by three years supervised release and ordered to pay $516,152 restitution. The defendants were also charged with conspiring to confiscate documents in furtherance of trafficking. The victims were stripped of their passports and required to work seven days a week.

United States v. Quinton Williams (Indictment 2/25/03) (D. Nevada)
The defendant, convicted of sex trafficking of children, transporting both a minor and an adult for prostitution, money laundering, and interstate travel in aid of racketeering, was sentenced to 125 months in prison and ordered to pay a $2,500 fine. As the operator of a prostitution business, the defendant transported the 16-year-old juvenile and adult victims cross-country by car to Indiana, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada, where he supervised their prostitution activities and collected and kept all of their earnings.

3. Training of federal and local law enforcement Through training of both federal and local law enforcement officials, including federal prosecutors and immigration officials working in the field, the U.S. Government is striving to ensure that trafficking victims are quickly identified and protected, that human trafficking activity masquerading as other crimes (i.e., alien smuggling, organized crime) is appropriately investigated and prosecuted, and that law enforcement officials have a list of contacts, both locally in their districts, as well as at various federal agencies in Washington, D.C., to assist them in moving quickly to respond to a trafficking case. The U.S. Government engages in interagency training of federal agents on trafficking in persons cases -- notably from the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Labor investigators -- both through in-service training, and at a federal training facility in Columbia, South Carolina. Specialized training is being developed for agents of the Department of Homeland Security -- from border agents to internal investigators -- that will include elements of trafficking training developed by INTERPOL.

The new crimes articulated in the TVPA are federal criminal violations, but many state and local law enforcement agencies are unaware of the statute. The 2000 Trafficking Monograph advocated for training of state and local law enforcement to identify trafficking cases and coordinate with federal authorities in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers. The U.S. Government has begun such training. For instance, in 2002, Department of Justice officials addressed the national annual meetings of several state and local law enforcement associations. In the summer of 2002, the Department of Justice attorneys authored an article on trafficking laws and investigations published in Police Chief magazine, which is sent to all 19,000 state and local law enforcement agencies. Additionally, technical assistance moneys were given to a national law enforcement organization for training state and local law enforcement officers to identify trafficking situations. 

In addition to law enforcement, the U.S. Government trains all diplomatic (ranging from junior officers to Ambassadors) and consular officers on the issue of trafficking in persons and responsibilities to address it. In regional training programs, officers learn to raise awareness of the issue with the foreign government and with nongovernmental organizations, and to familiarize themselves with trafficking parameters in their country of assignment. In addition, the Department of State distributes brochures, Be Smart Be Safe, to visa applicants in selected countries alerting them to the dangers of trafficking. http://www.state.gov/g/tip/c8628.htm. Another way to improve prevention of trafficking is to understand the situations vulnerable populations find themselves in within source countries, particularly with respect to labor markets and other social and economic factors. The annual Trafficking in Persons Report, which assesses the anti-trafficking activities of governments of source, transit and destination countries, can prove a valuable source of such information, as can the Department of State’s continued expansion of reporting on trafficking in persons in its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. Leveraging attention generated by these reports, the Department of State continuously engages with foreign government officials to promote cooperation and enhanced anti-trafficking campaigns, regionally and on a per-country basis. Since the advent of the Trafficking in Persons Report, the Department of State and the Agency for International Development also focus their anti-trafficking-related international assistance primarily on those eligible countries that are ranked in Tiers 2 or 3 of the Report, in order to assist them to improve their anti-trafficking efforts. http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/rpt/17858.htm. The U.S. Government’s international anti-trafficking efforts run the gamut from small projects purchasing equipment to large-scale, multi-year, multi-million-dollar programs to develop comprehensive regional and national strategies to combat the worst forms of child labor. Based on what the U.S. Government has learned over many years of international development work, the types of assistance that will impact trafficking in persons include the following: economic alternative programs for vulnerable groups; education programs; training for government officials and medical personnel; anti-corruption measures; development or improvement of anti-trafficking laws; provision of equipment for law enforcement; establishment or renovation of shelters, crisis centers, or safehouses for victims; support for voluntary and humane return and reintegration assistance for victims; and support for psychological, legal, medical and counseling services for victims provided by nongovernmental organizations, international organizations and governments. The U.S. Government funds programs in each of these substantive areas.

The largest hurdles in providing training to local law enforcement are the sheer number of state and local law enforcement agencies that exist throughout the United States, and the turnover of officers, which on average is every few years. The U.S. Government has identified some vehicles through which to do training, e.g., annual conferences of law enforcement organizations, but the task is daunting.

E. Prevention of Trafficking The ideal way to combat trafficking is to forestall the victimization of people in the first place. Because the United States is a destination country for trafficked people, those prevention activities in which the U.S. Government engages abroad are particularly important in preventing trafficking. Through the Department of State, the Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Government gives a substantial amount of international assistance aimed at preventing trafficking in persons, as well as improving the treatment of victims and the prosecution of traffickers abroad.

As the 2000 Trafficking Monograph notes, a better understanding of source countries, traffickers, and their attempts to recruit girls from those nations is needed to prevent trafficking. One avenue the United States actively pursues is raising awareness about this issue through bilateral dialogues with foreign governments, through conferences, speeches, and outreach to nongovernmental organizations. Included in these strategies to improve such understanding is to bring people together from around the world to develop regional plans of action on trafficking. There have been several international and regional conferences specifically on human trafficking, and the U.S. Government has endeavored to facilitate them. An example is a February 2003 international conference hosted by the Department of State in partnership with the nongovernmental War Against Trafficking Alliance, entitled “Pathbreaking Strategies in the Global Fight Against Sex Trafficking.” This conference took place in Washington, D.C. and brought together 400-plus working-level activists from 113 countries who tackle sex trafficking in their own cultures to develop regional action plans and share best practices. The conference report summarizing best practices was released in May 2003 and may be found at

The Department of Labor also publishes an annual report, mandated by the Trade and Development Act of 2000, on efforts being taken by governments to meet their international commitments to eliminate the worst forms of child labor, including the trafficking of children for exploitative labor and commercial sexual exploitation. The Trade and Development Act established efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor as a new eligibility criterion for countries that are recipients of trade benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences, the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act, and the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

In Fiscal Year 2002, the U.S. Government supported approximately 200 anti-trafficking programs totaling more than $55.8 million benefitting over 75 countries, up from 118 programs in 55 countries in Fiscal Year 2001. The Government of the United States invested over $100 million on anti-trafficking efforts over the last two years. A complete list of 2002 programs is available at

The 2000 Trafficking Monograph posits that prevention of trafficking must incorporate improved data collection to understand the trafficking phenomenon better, as well as economic alternatives in the source countries, public awareness campaigns, targeted microcredit initiatives, small business development, job skills training to promote the financial independence of girls and women, programs to keep children, particularly girls, in elementary as well as secondary schools, and school curricula that include warnings about the dangers of trafficking. The U.S. Government’s international programs aim to address those specific needs, as well as a variety of others, to lessen the likelihood of people being trafficked with impunity. A sampling of the 200 programs, and the needs they intend to address, is presented below:

  • Research into the nature and extent of trafficking in a country or region: In Haiti, the USAID is funding research into child slavery and trafficking, particularly of Haitian children trafficked to the Dominican Republic. In Afghanistan, an assessment of trafficking of Afghan women and children within the country and to neighboring countries is being conducted, with State Department funds. In the Balkans, the State Department is also supporting research into the role of international peacekeeping operations in the trafficking of women and girls. In Yugoslavia, a USAID project supports research into why Roma women and children are trafficked. 

  • Improved school attendance: In the Dominican Republic, a program run by Labor’s International Labor Affairs Bureau to eliminate the worst forms of child labor--. Timebound -- focuses on access to education and health for children. 

  • Job skills training to empower women: In Nepal, a State Department-funded project is providing vocational and other employment training skills targeting at-risk groups for job placement as well as micro-enterprise funding. In Russia, one USAID project will encourage economic empowerment of women at-risk, focusing on job skills training and small business development. 

  • Public outreach through media campaigns: The USAID mission in Mali is launching a media campaign in Mali and Cote D’Ivoire to promote child welfare and prevent trafficking through community radio soap operas. UNICEF and the Government of Benin are receiving USAID funds to create a documentary film on child trafficking to increase public awareness about child trafficking. In Albania, the State Department is supporting the creation of television spots. The State Department is also supporting the production of television shows and street theater in Thailand to increase public awareness of gender issues such as trafficking.

The U.S. Government also engages internationally through cooperation with countries that support the UN Optional Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, which supplements the UN Convention Against Transnational Crime, adopted by the UN General Assembly in November 2000; the United States signed the Convention and Protocol in December 2000 but has not yet ratified them. Three other international instruments that address the sale of and trafficking in children have also been adopted -- International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (which the United States ratified in December 1999), the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (which the United States ratified in December 2002), and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (which the United States ratified in December 2002). The Department of Labor works with the ILO to bring international attention to countries’ obligations under ILO Convention 150, the Abolition of Forced Labor, as well.

U.S. Government personnel have also helped train foreign visitors and officials in the United States, in foreign countries and at International Law Enforcement Academies’ training centers on U.S. trafficking laws, investigations, and prosecutions. The U.S. Government has trained prosecutors, police, judges, and non-governmental representatives from a wide variety of countries, including Bangladesh, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Hungary, India, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Rwanda, Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and Uzbekistan, as well as Kosovo. On a different note, the Department of State, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security participate in the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative. As of Fiscal Year 2003, the FBI has detailed agents to Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania to work on trafficking issues. Continuing such international cooperation and training should facilitate successful investigations and prosecutions of traffickers, promote the improved welfare in other countries of those most vulnerable to being trafficked, and bring about the replication of this model in other regions.

In the international arena, the U.S. Government could continue to improve activities to combat trafficking in persons. Notably, there could be expanded funding for repatriation, particularly in circumstances where a trafficked person cannot return to a home country and must be resettled in a third country, or where recidivism is likely. Other means of prevention to consider are public-private partnerships to integrate at-risk populations into the community and workforce. More work could be done with other countries to collect better information on trends, numbers of victims, prosecutions and convictions. The Trafficking in Persons Report process has demonstrated that these data are hard to gather given that many countries’ criminal justice systems are not automated. Nonetheless, the United States is actively working with other governments in an effort to gather these statistics. Even domestically, data can be fragmented and difficult to assemble. In countries with less automation of criminal justice data the task proves daunting. The U.S. Government’s efforts to collect additional data on trafficking in persons are limited, particularly in light of the fact that trafficking is currently almost exclusively a federal crime, and states therefore would not keep statistics on it. As more states pass anti-trafficking laws, it may become easier to amass such data. The United States is committed to assessing and refining priorities to adapt to changing world trafficking situations.

While most of these prevention activities take place abroad, the United States could and does engage in some prevention activities within its borders, notably warning people about the dangers of purchasing products made with trafficked persons’ labor. Such activities are done primarily by the private sector, and involve certifying that products such as rugs were made abroad without slave labor.9 National information campaigns to educate people about trafficking could serve the dual purpose of helping to identify more victims and perhaps to prevent people from ending up in trafficking situations. Such prevention activities at home and abroad should help stem the tide of people being trafficked around the world and into the United States.

9Some commentators have suggested that the United States should engage in additional prevention activities domestically with regard to the trafficking of youth for sexual exploitation -- warning “customers” and the like about the criminal nature of their activities. As mentioned earlier, the focus of this report is the trafficking of people into the United States, not those trafficked from state to state. Nonetheless, such prevention activities might prove useful in reducing the demand for trafficked persons’ labor or sexual exploitation.

IV. CONCLUSION In a world in which corruption, crime, poverty, inequality, low status of women and girls, and civil conflict show few signs of abating, individuals will continue to be at risk of being trafficked. In the United States, our goal is to continue on the road to abolishing and eradicating trafficking in persons by helping one victim at a time, funding one victim assistance organization at a time, investigating and prosecuting one trafficker at a time, training one law enforcement officer at a time, writing one good anti-trafficking law at a time, influencing one foreign government at a time through diplomacy and the possibility of sanctions, and encouraging one world community to adhere to the precepts of the UN Protocol on trafficking in persons. The U.S. Government’s successes, and similarly the international community’s successes, are alternately incremental and monumental, measured in small steps and occasional large leaps. The accumulation of small steps leads eventually to a comprehensive approach to eliminate human trafficking. The occasional large leap -- such as working with countries that face sanctions because they are not meeting minimum standards to eliminate trafficking -- helps as well. Such incremental and, where possible, monumental successes should be the mandate to countries around the world, including the United States, until there are no victims and we have ensured that there will be no more victims. As Attorney General John Ashcroft stated in 2003: “Those who traffic in human lives treat people as easily expendable and highly profitable. But behind each dollar sign is a human tragedy.” The U.S. Government aims to remedy such human tragedy one victim at a time. Our Assessment chronicles our work-in-progress on such remedies and identifies future priorities.

  

Recommendations for Improvement of U.S. Government Anti-Trafficking Activities

1. Determine whether comprehensive services are being provided in the appropriate geographical locations.

2. Reassess repatriation efforts in light of the demand for them by trafficking victims.

3. Assess whether eligibility standards for immigration benefits are appropriate in light of the demand for them by trafficking victims.

4. Continue outreach efforts to inform the public about trafficking and monitor their success.

5. Continue training for federal agents and prosecutors to identify victims of trafficking and to investigate and prosecute trafficking in persons cases.

6. Continue current outreach efforts to state and local law enforcement and find new ways of raising awareness about trafficking in persons.

7. Support public-private partnerships in the international arena to integrate at-risk populations into the community and workforce.

8. Collect better information internationally on trafficking trends, numbers of victims, prosecutions and convictions.

9. Increase U.S. Government efforts to warn the public about the purchase of products made with trafficked persons’ labor.

10. Ratify the UN Protocol on trafficking in persons.

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