OverviewHuman trafficking is reputed to be one of the most profitable endeavors of organized crime and the fastest growing; an endeavor which enslaves thousands of people within our borders each year and perhaps millions outside those borders. It is a crime of increasing proportions, fully repugnant to American beliefs; a crime that preys on the world's most vulnerable people.The crime of human trafficking is slavery. It is the sexual exploitation of children for commercial purposes; it is compelling people to labor or provide services through force, fraud, or coercion, whether citizens, legal residents, or persons having entered the country illegally. It is also taking from a person his or her travel documents (passports and or visas, whether authentic or forged) to compel that person's labor or services.The United States is generally a destination for trafficking victims who are recruited in their home countries and transported through other countries. But movement is not required for human trafficking to occur. Many U.S. citizens are trafficked, usually run-away teenage girls, who are preyed upon by pimps and trafficked for prostitution. The Department of Justice has included investigating human trafficking among its top priorities.BJA Anti-Human Trafficking EffortsIn Summer 2004 following the First National Human Trafficking Conference, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) began building on Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) efforts to assist victims of trafficking in persons. While the TVPA provides for services to foreign victims of trafficking and prosecution of human trafficking at the federal level, it is often local law enforcement personnel who initially encounter victims of trafficking in the course of their daily operations. Local law enforcement agencies may often uncover trafficking situations when making routine service calls for aggravated assault, domestic disturbance, battery, and other crimes. Therefore, local-level policing that is informed about victim identification and the available victim services, when combined with federal investigative capacity and coordinated with the U.S. Attorney's Office, presents a formidable force for the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking.To combat human trafficking, BJA develops training for law enforcement and communities to identify trafficking in persons and funds task forces to investigate and prosecute all forms of human trafficking based on a sound strategy of collaboration among state and local enforcement, trafficking victim service providers, federal law enforcement, and U.S. Attorneys' Offices.
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Federal LegislationCongress has passed and Presidents have signed into law, "The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000" (P.L. 106-386), which was reauthorized in 2003, 2005, and 2008 by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2003 (P.L. 108-193), the TVPRA of 2005 (P.L. 109-164), and the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-457). The TVPA and its reauthorizations seek to combat human trafficking by punishing traffickers, protecting victims, and mobilizing U.S. government agencies to wage a global anti-trafficking campaign. These Acts contain significant mandates for the U.S. Departments of State, Justice, Labor, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services and the U.S. Agency for International Development.The TVPA includes two forms of severe trafficking: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. TVPA defines "severe forms of trafficking" as:
State LegislationAccording to the National Conference of State Legislatures, by 2013, every state has enacted laws establishing criminal penalties for traffickers seeking to profit from forced labor or sexual servitude. The laws vary on "who is defined as a 'trafficker,' the statutory elements required to prove guilt to obtain a conviction and the seriousness of the criminal and financial penalties those convicted will face."
Funding for Task Forces to Combat Human TraffickingSince FY 2015, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and Office for Victims of Crime have funded 29 Enhanced Collaborative Model (ECM) Human Trafficking Task Forces for the purpose of combating human trafficking in communities across the U.S.
To access lists of task forces funded in prior years, click on the appropriate FY:
Report Trafficking Suspected incidents of trafficking can be reported by contacting your local FBI office. In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services maintains, through Polaris, the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH), which operates 24-hours, 7-days-a-week. Please call 1-888-373-7888 or text BeFree (233733).
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BJA has competitively selected the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to provide law enforcement related training and technical assistance (TTA) to the BJA or Office for Victims of Crime (OVC)-funded task forces. IACP will provide an array of training and technical assistance resources that match the identified needs of the local task forces. Further, IACP has worked with several task forces to gather feedback to enhance existing trainings, provide peer-to-peer learning opportunities, and emphasize data-driven, best practices, via online platforms. The TTA emphasizes the importance of effective collaboration among task force partners, data collection, and analysis. Visit the Anti-Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance section of the IACP website for more information on and access to IACP resources and training on anti-human trafficking investigations and prosecutions. BJA works in partnership with OVC, other federal agencies, and a variety of organizations to assist a task force’s ability to: (1) identify and rescue victims; (2) proactively investigate all forms of human trafficking and successfully prosecute traffickers; and (3) raise the awareness of communities to the menace of trafficking. Upcoming trainings from the IACP include the following:
Available training resources from the IACP:
Office for Victims of Crime (OVC): Human Trafficking
International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP): Child Sex Trafficking: Tools for Law Enforcement
The Faces of Human Trafficking - Public Service Announcements
National Human Trafficking Hotline
Human Trafficking and the State Courts Collaborative
U.S. Department of State: Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS): Human Trafficking
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): Human Trafficking
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Campaign to Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking
National Institute of Justice (NIJ): Human Trafficking
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How can suspected incidents of human trafficking be reported? Answer
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To search on older awards, visit the OJP Grant Awards page.
BJA is pleased to announce the recipients of the FY2017 Anti-Human Trafficking Law Enforcement Task Force awards. The 2 agencies receiving these cooperative agreements were selected through a competitive process, under the FY 2017 Enhanced Collaborative Model to Combat Human Trafficking solicitation.
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