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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 New Mexico
Department Strategy Supports National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland on Jan. 31 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.”

“The department’s national strategy helps to strengthen our efforts to combat human trafficking here in New Mexico,” said Fred J. Federici, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico. “We have always prioritized human trafficking, including working collaboratively with state, local and tribal investigators to identify and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law the perpetrators of these heinous crimes.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office worked with the FBI to form a new Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking task force in 2020, comprised of the FBI, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, Albuquerque Police Department and investigators from the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office. 

“Our staff has worked to educate the public on such topics as the indicators of human trafficking and manipulation tactics by traffickers. In addition to having a fulltime coordinator for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons, our staff has performed presentations in tribal communities specific to human trafficking and DOJ initiatives that promote public safety in Indian Country. We’ve also worked with our tribal partners to develop Tribal Community Response Plans. This national strategy helps us to increase these efforts across all communities in New Mexico.”

The New Mexico Human Trafficking Task Force is led by the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office and service provider organization The Life Link.  This task force is federally funded through the Bureau of Justice Assistance and provides training throughout the state with both law enforcement agencies and service provider organizations. 

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.

Updated February 2, 2022

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