Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales today issued an 89-page report detailing the Justice Department’s record successes in the fight to abolish human trafficking. The report documents the Department’s more than 300 percent increase in trafficking prosecutions. Attorney General Gonzales unveiled the report at the 4th Annual Freedom Network USA Conference, “New Voices and Strategies on Human Trafficking,” at the Chicago-Kent School of Law.
“Few people disagree that human trafficking is one of the world’s most depraved criminal practices,” said Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. “What they might not know is how often it happens – including right here in America. The Department’s report reveals a compelling story about our efforts to combat trafficking and comfort victims.”
Trafficking in persons, a modern-day form of slavery, is a serious problem in the United States and throughout the world. Human traffickers most often prey on women and children; victims are often forced to work as prostitutes, in sweatshops, bars, or agricultural fields, or as domestic labor. President George W. Bush has made combating human trafficking a priority for his Administration. The Justice Department is charged with enforcing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), prosecuting traffickers whether their victims are American citizens or foreign nationals.
The report, entitled “Department of Justice Report on Human Trafficking, Fiscal Years 2001-2005," documents the dramatic increase in human trafficking prosecutions since 2001. From fiscal year 2001 through fiscal year 2005, the Justice Department filed 91 trafficking cases, an increase of more than 300 percent over the number of trafficking cases filed during the previous five years. In these cases, the Department charged 248 trafficking defendants - a 210 percent increase over the previous five years. Additionally, the Department convicted 140 defendants of trafficking-related crimes–a 109 percent increase–over the previous five years.
The Attorney General also applauded those who provide comfort and aid to human trafficking victims. Organizations that help human trafficking victims are essential to successful prosecutions. “Without the help of victims’ testimony – and therefore without your help as counselors,” stated Attorney General Gonzales, “we would not be able to prosecute and lock-up human traffickers.”
The Report was distributed to conference attendees and is publicly available. Copies of the report are electronically available at http://www.usdoj.gov or by contacting Office of Public Affairs.