WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today commemorates National Human Trafficking Prevention Month and renews its commitment to prosecuting human traffickers, protecting victims, empowering survivors, and preventing the proliferation of these abhorrent crimes.
In recognition of Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the Justice Department reaffirms that vindicating the rights of human trafficking victims and other vulnerable persons ranks among its highest priorities. The Department remains resolute in its commitment to bringing the full force of the Department to the fight against human trafficking.
“The Department launched our National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking to bring the full force of the Department to the fight against human trafficking,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Since then, we’ve taken sustained steps forward to make our anti-trafficking efforts stronger than ever. We have brought human traffickers to justice, dismantled trafficking enterprises, and empowered survivors to rebuild their lives. I am proud of the progress the Department has made. But there is still much more work left to do.”
“Human trafficking is a vicious crime, one where the traffickers reap the profits and the victims bear the scars,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “While we recognize Human Trafficking Prevention Month as an annual reminder of the importance of this fight, the women and men of the Justice Department are working 365 days a year to dismantle trafficking organizations, bring traffickers to justice, and empower survivors.”
“Human trafficking deprives exceptionally vulnerable people of their rights to freedom, dignity, and equal protection of the law. Too often, human trafficking crimes go undetected because victims are afraid to come forward, so they remain in the shadows, fearful of defying their traffickers’ demands,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division remains relentless in our pursuit of justice for victims and survivors of these intolerable offenses. We must continue to build trust in vulnerable communities so those who are endangered, exploited, compelled, or coerced can safely come forward and share their personal testimonies. We will continue to honor and empower survivors and amplify their voices as we work to detect hidden trafficking crimes, hold human traffickers accountable, vindicate the rights of vulnerable victims, and secure justice for survivors.”
The Justice Department’s National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking sets forth a comprehensive, multi-year strategy to enhance Department-wide efforts to combat all forms of human trafficking. Actions in 2023 to implement this National Strategy and to advance all aspects of the Department’s broad-based anti-trafficking mission include:
- Designation by the Attorney General of a National Human Trafficking Coordinator and a National Child Exploitation Coordinator to coordinate Department-wide and interagency implementation of strategies for countering human trafficking and child exploitation threats, respectively.
- Establishment of a Human Trafficking Working Group of U.S. Attorneys through the Attorney General's Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys and its Civil Rights Subcommittee.
- Formation of a specialized Human Trafficking Program Management Team within the FBI’s Crimes Against Children and Human Trafficking Unit to develop and disseminate expertise and training on victim-centered, trauma-informed anti-trafficking strategies to FBI Field Offices nationwide and enhance coordination of human trafficking investigations, prosecutions, and victim services.
- Implementation of the revised Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance, including delivery of survivor-informed training to all relevant Department personnel on enhanced protections for vulnerable victims and specialized issues impacting human trafficking victims.
- Training of all Department Immigration Judges on detecting human trafficking victims and indicators in immigration-related proceedings through the Executive Office for Immigration Review.
- Expanded efforts to combat forced child labor, including:
- Leadership of the interagency Forced Labor Initiative Steering Group in conducting strategic assessments of forced child labor threats and guiding criminal forced labor investigations and prosecutions in relevant jurisdictions;
- Participation in the interagency Child Labor Exploitation Task Force and issuance of guidance to all Office for Victims of Crime grantees, in collaboration with the Department of Labor, on identifying, assisting, and referring victims of forced child labor and child labor exploitation; and
- Introduction of resolutions on combating forced child labor to the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime Working Group on Trafficking in Persons
- Sustained efforts to combat child sex trafficking, including through:
- Release of the Department’s 2023 National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction;
- Operations conducted by the FBI and federal, state, local, and Tribal partners over a two-week period that identified and located 59 missing children and 59 victims of potential federal or state sex trafficking, sexual exploitation, or related offenses, as well as 126 suspects and 141 potential adult victims of such offenses; and
- Issuance of an Office on Violence Against Women Training and Technical Assistance grant to implement the Building Capacity to Serve Youth Survivors of Sex Trafficking Project; youth sex trafficking grantees and service providers; deliver youth-centered, survivor-informed expertise; and enhance outreach to traditionally underserved youth populations including BIPOC, LGBTQI+, migrant youth, and youth with disabilities.
- Enhanced responses to human trafficking impacting Tribal communities through training, technical assistance, and coordination among Tribal, territorial, federal, state, local, and non-governmental partners, including through the Tribal Consultation on Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women; Not Invisible Act Commission; National Indian Country Training Initiative; and Strengthening Sovereign Responses to Sex Trafficking in Indian Country and Alaska program.
- Issuance of over $95 million in grant funding through the Department’s Office for Victims of Crime, as the largest federal funder of services for human trafficking victims and survivors, including grant funding for direct services and legal services and training and technical assistance to enhance grantees’ capacity to provide services to labor trafficking victims.
- National Institute of Justice-funded research and evaluation studies to inform evidence-based best practices involving multidisciplinary task forces, victim services, and responses to emerging forced labor and forced criminality threats.
- Continued collaboration among U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity and Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Sections to secure convictions, substantial sentences, and significant restitution awards in a wide range of human trafficking prosecutions nationwide.
Anyone who has information about a potential human trafficking situation or a person who may be experiencing human trafficking should contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733.
Information on the Justice Department’s work to combat human trafficking can be found at www.justice.gov/humantrafficking.