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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, Eastern District of California
Department Strategy Supports National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today 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 Dec. 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.”

“Consistent with the Justice Department’s strategy, the investigation and prosecution of all forms of human trafficking remain top priorities for our office,” said U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert. “We are proud of our outstanding, decades-long record of prosecuting human trafficking offenses. We pursue numerous sex trafficking investigations every year, securing convictions and lengthy sentences that further public safety and protect vulnerable children and adults. We also vigorously pursue forced labor investigations and recently secured lengthy prison sentences for traffickers who exploited domestic servants from overseas, as well as convictions of owners of a restaurant and cleaning service that exploited their own adult and minor relatives they brought to this country.”

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.

U.S. Attorney Talbert continued, “We are committed to continuing and enhancing our critical work in the identification and prosecution of offenses related to forced labor, international sex trafficking, and sex trafficking of both children and adults. As part of that commitment, we work continually to strengthen partnerships with our federal, state, and local partners. This includes our close working relationships with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the Department of State, and the Department of Labor, which grew out of our office’s prior participation in the Justice Department’s Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team program.”

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.

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 fext 233733.

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

Updated February 1, 2022

Human Trafficking