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Press Release

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Announces Justice Department Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Arizona

PHOENIX, Ariz. – U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland yesterday released the Justice Department’s new National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking pursuant to the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.

Rooted in the foundational pillars and priorities of the interagency National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, which President Biden released on December 3, 2021, the Justice Department's National Strategy is expansive in scope. It aims to enhance the Department's capacity to prevent human trafficking; to prosecute human trafficking cases; and to support and protect human trafficking victims and survivors.

“Human trafficking is an insidious crime,” said Attorney General Garland. “Traffickers exploit and endanger some of the most vulnerable members of our society and cause their victims unimaginable harm. The Justice Department’s new National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking will bring the full force of the Department to this fight.”

“The new National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking provides our office with an opportunity to bolster our commitment to prosecuting human traffickers,” said United States Attorney Gary Restaino. “Over the years we have worked with federal and local law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute cases, and we have collaborated on task forces with energetic and compassionate non-profit partners across Arizona. We look forward to more opportunities to work together in the future to ensure traffickers are held accountable and victims are rescued and supported.”

Among other things, the Justice Department’s multi-year strategy to combat all forms of human trafficking will:

  • Strengthen engagement, coordination and joint efforts to combat human trafficking by prosecutors in all 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and by federal law enforcement agents nationwide.
  • Establish federally-funded, locally-led anti-human trafficking task forces that support sustained state law enforcement leadership and comprehensive victim assistance.
  • Step up departmental efforts to end forced labor by increasing attention, resources and coordination in labor trafficking investigations and prosecutions.
  • Enhance initiatives to reduce vulnerability of American Indians and Alaska Natives to violent crime, including human trafficking, and to locate missing children.
  • Develop and implement new victim screening protocols to identify potential human trafficking victims during law enforcement operations and encourage victims to share important information.
  • Increase capacity to provide victim-centered assistance to trafficking survivors, including by supporting efforts to deliver financial restoration to victims.
  • Expand dissemination of federal human trafficking training, guidance and expertise.
  • Advance innovative demand-reduction strategies.

The Department’s strategy will be implemented under the direction of the National Human Trafficking Coordinator designated by the Attorney General in accordance with the Abolish Human Trafficking Act of 2017.

In December 2021, as part of the Department of Justice’s ongoing efforts to combat trafficking, the Office for Victims of Crimes awarded grants to two Arizona non-profits to assist victims of human trafficking. Our Family Services, Inc. in Tucson, Arizona was awarded $600,000 to provide safe, stable housing and individualized services to victims of human trafficking in Pima County, particularly those between the ages of 18 and 24. The International Rescue Committee in Tucson (IRC) received $349,585 to develop, expand, and strengthen services for domestic and foreign victims of human trafficking, including programs that provide trauma-informed, victim-centered services in Pima, Cochise, and Santa Cruz Counties.

If you believe that you or someone you know may be a victim of human trafficking, please contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at  1-888-373-7888, or Text 233733.

To read the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking click here.

RELEASE NUMBER:    2022-006_Combat Human Trafficking

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Updated February 1, 2022

Human Trafficking
Press Release Number: 2022-006_Combat Human Trafficking