BILLINGS -- U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland this week 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.”
“Montana, through the multi-agency Montana Human Trafficking Task Force, is bringing human traffickers to justice while assisting and supporting victims. Trafficking of individuals, whether for sex or labor, enslaves and exploits both adults and minors and is a scourge on society. I encourage anyone who suspects human trafficking may be occurring to report it immediately to law enforcement,” U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.
In recent months, federal prosecutions in Montana have led to convictions of seven individuals charged in two large sex trafficking investigations. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, in collaboration with its law enforcement partners, continues to investigate and prosecute human traffickers.
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.
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.
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