Justice Department Announces Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Department strategy supports national action plan to combat human trafficking
BOSTON – U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Rachael S. Rollins have announced the Justice Department’s new National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking pursuant to the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, which aims to enhance the Department’s capacity to prevent human trafficking; prosecute human trafficking cases; and support and protect human trafficking victims and survivors.
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 fight against sex and labor trafficking, and supporting these victims, is one of my highest priorities for this office. Coordination among local, state and federal partners to provide a victim-centered approach to prevent human trafficking in the District will be further enhanced by the Justice Department’s newly released strategy,” said U.S. Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “Human trafficking has a devastating and sustained impact on victims and their loved ones. My office will spare no resource in identifying, prosecuting and holding traffickers accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Human trafficking is an insidious crime,” said U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. 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 District of Massachusetts has established itself as a leader in the fight to address human trafficking.
Since 2017, the Department of Justice has committed approximately $235 million in federal grants throughout the District of Massachusetts to aid in the fight against sex and labor trafficking and support victims of crime, including survivors of human trafficking. These funding streams have supported health and human service organizations providing direct services to survivors, state and local human trafficking prevention programs, law enforcement trainings and other support to victims and minor victims of human trafficking.
In FY2021, the following federal grants were awarded in Massachusetts to support local and state anti-trafficking programs, and provide direct services to victims of crime, including survivors of human trafficking:
- Baystate Medical Center, Inc., $600,000
- Ascentria Community Services, Inc., $800,000
- Attorney General’s Office, $1,558,000
- Commonwealth of Massachusetts: $21,488,509
In 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office $1,699,742 to develop a Massachusetts Task Force to Combat Human Trafficking. The Commonwealth’s Anti-Trafficking (CAT) Task Force is a federally funded, multidisciplinary approach that is the first of its kind and a national model for locally led anti-human trafficking task forces. This effort is a collaboration between the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, direct service providers, and state, local and federal law enforcement to proactively investigate and effectively prosecute human trafficking in Massachusetts while also providing trauma informed comprehensive services for victims of human trafficking.
The Massachusetts CAT Task Force receives referrals for all types of human trafficking cases. Referrals or questions should be communicated to the CAT Task Force through the Attorney General’s Office or via email to CATTaskForce@mass.gov. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
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 receive more information related to applying for federal grant programs to support anti-trafficking work, please visit www.grants.gov.
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. To read the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking click here.
Updated February 22, 2022