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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, Western District of Pennsylvania
Department Strategy Supports National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking

PITTSBURGH - U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland on January 21, 2022, 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.”

“Through our Operation T.E.N. (Trafficking Ends Now) initiative, led by our Human Trafficking Prosecutions Coordinator, we are proactively working with local, state and federal law enforcement, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations, to identify and prosecute human traffickers and to empower victims to become  thriving survivors,” said U.S Attorney Cindy Chung. “Our outreach efforts include providing the public with education and training on, among other things, defining human trafficking, identifying the “red flags” or indicators, as well as the myths about human trafficking. Interested community groups can reach us at 412-644-3500 to request a presentation.”

U.S. Attorney Chung further said, “Importantly, the Operation T.E.N. team includes victim specialists, at the FBI, HSI and our office, who assist victims through the criminal justice process, and provide emotional support, in conjunction with local organizations who offer victims of, not only human trafficking, but all forms of sexual abuse, with much-needed housing, programming, and an opportunity to reclaim their lives.”

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 9, 2022

Human Trafficking