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Department Commemorates the 10th Anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act

The Justice Department commemorated the 10th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act at an event last week highlighting the department’s achievements over a decade of enforcement. Attorney General Eric Holder was joined by Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez of the Civil Rights Division, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach, chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys Civil Rights Subcommittee. The Attorney General and other officials praised the broad partnerships developed within the department's components and those with other federal, state and local law enforcement as well as non-governmental victim assistance organizations that have worked with the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit to bring record numbers of human trafficking prosecutions.  The Attorney General and Assistant Attorney General Perez praised the partnerships among the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Labor, and the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys for their collaboration on the forthcoming initiatives. Attorney General Holder said:
“This crime is an affront to our common humanity.  While we have made tremendous strides in restoring the rights of human trafficking victims and bringing traffickers to justice, this depraved crime continues to deprive too many of the most vulnerable members of our society of their individual rights and freedoms.”
The Attorney General also commended the collaboration among the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and Mexican authorities on a Bilateral Enforcement Initiative to combat human trafficking networks operating on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Commenting on the event, Assistant Attorney General Perez added:
“Since the formation of the specialized Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit in 2007, we have demonstrated an unflagging commitment to prosecuting those who exploit other human beings for modern-day slavery.  As human trafficking networks grow increasingly sophisticated, so must our efforts to eradicate them.  With the introduction of new forthcoming initiatives, we will be coordinating our efforts more effectively than ever before to ensure that human traffickers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Assistant Attorney General Breuer commended the many parts of the Criminal Division that play important roles in supporting efforts to combat human trafficking:
“Since the passage of the TVPA, the Criminal Division has partnered closely with the Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, other federal agencies, and state and local authorities to bring human traffickers to justice and seek appropriate penalties for their crimes.  Human trafficking is a reprehensible crime, and children are often the victims of the depraved criminal schemes that we prosecute. Human trafficking truly is a “modern form of slavery.  [Our] efforts are a true testament to what the U.S. government can achieve when we collaborate and share resources, and the Criminal Division is absolutely committed to working with its law enforcement partners even more closely in the future.”
The Civil Rights Division also released a report on its enforcement of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act over the past decade. Combating human trafficking is a top priority of the Justice Department.  In each of the past two fiscal years, the Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices have brought record numbers of human trafficking cases.
Updated April 7, 2017