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Legal Careers

Trial Attorney-Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit (HTPU)

Hiring Organization
Civil Rights Division (CRT)
Hiring Office
Criminal Section
Job ID
Washington, DC 20530 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The Civil Rights Division (Division) of the Department of Justice, created by the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, works to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society. The Division is primarily responsible for enforcing federal statutes and executive orders that prohibit, among other things, unlawful discrimination in education, employment, housing, police service, public accommodations and facilities, voting, and federally funded and conducted programs. The Division also has jurisdiction to enforce constitutional prohibitions on certain conduct by law enforcement agencies and public residential institutions, such as health care and correctional facilities.

The Criminal Section (CRM or Section) is seeking experienced attorneys to enforce federal criminal civil rights statutes in its specialized Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit (HTPU). The Section's specialized HTPU investigates and prosecutes federal human trafficking crimes in partnership
with United States Attorney's Offices (USAOs), and provides anti-trafficking expertise to prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, task forces, and other anti-trafficking partners by leading interagency enforcement initiatives, delivering anti-trafficking training programs, and providing strategic guidance to enhance nationwide human trafficking case identification, victim protection, investigation, and prosecution efforts.

As the federal agency whose mission is to ensure the fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans, the Department of Justice is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment. To build and retain a workforce that reflects the diverse experiences and perspectives of the American people, we welcome applicants from the many communities, identities, races, ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities, religions, and cultures of the United States who share our commitment to public service.

Job Description

The core duties of a Trial Attorney in the Section's HTPU consist of investigating and prosecuting alleged violations of federal criminal human trafficking and involuntary servitude statutes, including: conducting grand jury investigations and trials in federal district courts around the country, in partnership with USAOs. The specialized HTPU focuses on investigating and prosecuting novel, complex, multi-jurisdictional, and human trafficking cases, including both sex trafficking and labor trafficking. The HTPU also leads interagency anti-trafficking enforcement initiatives, and provides anti-trafficking subject matter expertise, guidance, and training to enforcement partners. The incumbent's investigative and prosecutorial responsibilities include, among other things: reviewing and evaluating evidence and relevant case law; interviewing witnesses; coordinating law enforcement efforts; developing investigative strategies; guiding criminal investigations, including complex,
proactive investigations; drafting written prosecutorial analyses including grand jury initiation memoranda, indictment authorization memoranda, and other prosecutorial memoranda; drafting indictments, pleadings, and other court filings; negotiating plea agreements; and representing the United States in grand jury proceedings, criminal trials, and other public appearances. Trafficking cases are often complex, potentially involving dozens of victim-witnesses, multiple subjects and defendants, wide-ranging criminal conduct, and lengthy investigations and prosecutions spanning multiple Districts over a period of months or years. Accordingly, in addition to extensively investigating and prosecuting cases in multiple Districts, HTPU Trial Attorneys also disseminate anti-trafficking expertise to additional Districts through interagency enforcement initiatives, trainings, guidance, and strategic engagements with enforcement partners.


Required Qualifications:

Applicants must possess a J.D. from an American Bar Association accredited law school, be an active member of the bar in good standing (any jurisdiction), and at least three years of post-professional law degree experience. Applicants also must have strong, demonstrated qualifications in the following areas: academic achievement; substantial substantive knowledge and expertise in the laws, rules and regulations applicable to the work of the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, including the criminal statutes prohibiting involuntary servitude, slavery, and human trafficking codified at Title 18, United States Code, Chapter 77, Sections 1581 through 1597; strong written and oral communication skills; the ability to analyze complex issues; skill and experience working collaboratively and productively with others; organizational skills; professional judgment; initiative; and the ability to excel in a fast-paced, demanding environment. In addition, applicants must have outstanding professional references.

Possessing the minimum post law degree legal experience does not guarantee the applicant will be selected at that grade level.

  • GS-14 - minimum 3 years post-JD legal experience
  • GS-15 - minimum 4 years post-JD legal experience

Preferred Qualifications:

Given the nature, volume, and complexity of this work, the Criminal Section's Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit seeks candidates with significant criminal litigation experience, including federal criminal litigation and/or state criminal litigation involving human trafficking or related crimes. The following qualifications are preferred, but not required: (1) experience investigating and prosecuting human trafficking crimes under federal and/or state law; (2) first-chair criminal prosecution or defense experience; (3) federal criminal litigation experience, including federal jury trial experience; (4) experience leading complex investigations, especially in utilizing investigative grand juries; (5) extensive substantive knowledge of federal human trafficking statutes, federal criminal procedure, and constitutional law; (6) judicial clerkship experience; (7) experience working with crime victims or other vulnerable individuals; and (8) experience coordinating with law enforcement agencies and task force partners. Other preferred qualifications include judicial clerkships (especially in federal court), law review, moot court, clinical experience, experience with trafficking-related civil, administrative, or immigration proceedings, and skill and experience working cooperatively and productively with a range of people such as witnesses, disadvantaged or disenfranchised groups, opposing counsel, judicial or administrative officials, advocacy groups, law enforcement personnel, task forces, and other federal or state governmental agencies.

Application Process

The complete Application Package must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Time Zone) on Monday, October 21, 2019.

To apply for this position, you must provide a complete Application Package, which includes:

1. Cover Letter

2. Résumé

3. A complete Occupational Questionnaire

4. Writing sample of no more than ten pages (a brief or comparable analytic legal exposition that is your work product)

5. Veterans' Preference Documentation, if applicable

6. Sch A documentation, if applicable

To apply for this position, see page at


$117,191.00 to $166,500.00 Per Year

Number of Positions
Few - Excepted Service Positions
Frequent travel will be required with this position.
Relocation Expenses
Not Authorized

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Department Policies

Equal Employment Opportunity:  The U.S. Department of Justice is an Equal Opportunity/Reasonable Accommodation Employer.  Except where otherwise provided by law, there will be no discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex - including gender identity, sexual orientation, or pregnancy status - or because of age (over 40), physical or mental disability, protected genetic information, parental status, marital status, political affiliation, or any other non-merit based factor.  The Department of Justice welcomes and encourages applications from persons with physical and mental disabilities. The Department is firmly committed to satisfying its affirmative obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to ensure that persons with disabilities have every opportunity to be hired and advanced on the basis of merit within the Department of Justice. For more information, please review our full EEO Statement.

Reasonable Accommodations:  This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency.  Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Outreach and Recruitment for Qualified Applicants with Disabilities:  The Department encourages qualified applicants with disabilities, including individuals with targeted/severe disabilities to apply in response to posted vacancy announcements.  Qualified applicants with targeted/severe disabilities may be eligible for direct hire, non-competitive appointment under Schedule A (5 C.F.R. § 213.3102(u)) hiring authority.  Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to contact one of the Department’s Disability Points of Contact (DPOC) to express an interest in being considered for a position. See list of DPOCs.   

Suitability and Citizenship:  It is the policy of the Department to achieve a drug-free workplace and persons selected for employment will be required to pass a drug test which screens for illegal drug use prior to final appointment.  Employment is also contingent upon the completion and satisfactory adjudication of a background investigation. Congress generally prohibits agencies from employing non-citizens within the United States, except for a few narrow exceptions as set forth in the annual Appropriations Act (see, Pursuant to DOJ component policies, only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment with the Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Trustee’s Offices, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Unless otherwise indicated in a particular job advertisement, qualifying non-U.S. citizens meeting immigration and appropriations law criteria may apply for employment with other DOJ organizations. However, please be advised that the appointment of non-U.S. citizens is extremely rare; such appointments would be possible only if necessary to accomplish the Department's mission and would be subject to strict security requirements. Applicants who hold dual citizenship in the U.S. and another country will be considered on a case-by-case basis. All DOJ employees are subject to a residency requirement. Candidates must have lived in the United States for at least three of the past five years. The three-year period is cumulative, not necessarily consecutive. Federal or military employees, or dependents of federal or military employees serving overseas, are excepted from this requirement. This is a Department security requirement which is waived only for extreme circumstances and handled on a case-by-case basis.

Veterans:  There is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference to attorney appointments in the excepted service; however, the Department of Justice considers veterans' preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans' preference must include that information in their cover letter or resume and attach supporting documentation (e.g., the DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and other supporting documentation) to their submissions. Although the "point" system is not used, per se, applicants eligible to claim 10-point preference must submit Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, and submit the supporting documentation required for the specific type of preference claimed (visit the OPM website, for a copy of SF 15, which lists the types of 10-point preferences and the required supporting document(s). Applicants should note that SF 15 requires supporting documentation associated with service- connected disabilities or receipt of nonservice-connected disability pensions to be dated 1991 or later except in the case of service members submitting official statements or retirement orders from a branch of the Armed Forces showing that their retirement was due to a permanent service-connected disability or that they were transferred to the permanent disability retired list (the statement or retirement orders must indicate that the disability is 10% or more).

USAO Residency Requirement:  Assistant United States Attorneys must reside in the district to which appointed or within 25 miles thereof.  See 28 U.S.C. 545 for district specific information.

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This and other vacancy announcements can be found under Attorney Vacancies and Volunteer Legal Internships. The Department of Justice cannot control further dissemination and/or posting of information contained in this vacancy announcement. Such posting and/or dissemination is not an endorsement by the Department of the organization or group disseminating and/or posting the information.

Updated October 7, 2019