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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, Southern District of Illinois
Department Strategy Supports National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking

Fairview  Heights,  Ill.  –  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.”

“I am especially proud of our office’s efforts to combat the scourge of human trafficking,” said 
United  States  Attorney  Steven  D.  Weinhoeft.  “Over  the  past  year,  we  have  built  a  
Human Trafficking Task Force that has grown to almost 100 members. We have been particularly 
effective providing training and outreach on labor trafficking, child abuse, and victims’ response 
to trauma.” The U.S. Attorney’s Office also hosted an event featuring “Truckers Against 
Trafficking” to raise awareness to the indicators of human trafficking.

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 3, 2022