In recent years, a number of factors have prompted the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP) to rethink the way we allocate our foreign assistance funding, including the maturation of the anti-trafficking movement as new stakeholders from across sectors are producing fresh research, developing new techniques for victim identification and survivor care, and spearheading other innovative efforts that hold tremendous promise for changing the way we understand and respond to this crime. Other key factors include the need to accelerate global anti-trafficking efforts in the context of a constrained U.S. government budget environment.
The Office has sought to fund programs that promise new and innovative approaches. The “3Ps”—Prevention, Protection, and Prosecution—remain central to anti-slavery efforts and while governments remain primarily responsible for responding to this crime, annual global efforts amount to roughly 7,000 trafficking prosecutions and 40,000 victims identified relative to a crime that victimizes as many as 27 million people.
Additionally, the demand for assistance has steadily increased while funding levels have remained static. Our Office has therefore become increasingly selective in the programs we fund, and the demand for funding for anti-trafficking efforts has far exceeded available appropriations (see funding data on back page). As the global anti-trafficking movement expands year after year, more applications for assistance are submitted even as we are able to fund fewer and fewer projects.
As a result of these factors, we have refined our approach to administering the J/TIP foreign assistance program. We remain committed to funding cross-cutting programs—those that address multiple elements of the 3Ps—as well as favoring programs with a survivor protection component. We are focused on investing in the programs that hold the greatest promise for advancing the anti-trafficking movement around the world. We have complemented this emphasis on innovation with a strengthened monitoring and evaluation program, so that we can ensure that our Office’s funding is being put to the best use. At the same time, we have intensified our collaboration with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) so that our agencies’ respective anti-trafficking efforts are more coordinated, efficient, and effective.
Our funding supports the Department and USAID’s Joint Strategic Goal Framework and works toward the specific goals of advancing civilian security throughout the world, building up stable and democratic states through promoting rule of law and protection of human rights, and advancing U.S. interests and values through public diplomacy and programs that connect the United States and Americans to the world.
The following are some examples of programs made possible through J/TIP grants. With foreign assistance funding, our grantees are bringing critical services to victims, helping governments improve their response to this crime, while building partnerships across regions and sectors. Without the foreign assistance we provide, some of these organizations would be unable to operate at all.
World Hope International (WHI) opened a shelter that can serve up to 50 female survivors in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Victims receive holistic and comprehensive aftercare services, including safe residential care for up to six months, as well as post-traumatic counseling, psychosocial and medical care, and reintegration support to help survivors reenter their communities with sustainable life skills. Additionally, WHI has partnered with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs to create and use a trafficking in persons database system to record trafficking cases.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) provided anti-trafficking training to law enforcement and other government officials in Malta. Two days after participating in the training, a police officer identified three victims of sex trafficking. This identification spurred greater government interest, including the investigation of a labor trafficking case later that year. Since then, the Maltese government has established a national coordinating committee on trafficking, a national action plan, and a partnership with IOM to set up a national referral mechanism for victims. The Maltese Minister for Home and Parliamentary Affairs credits the training for revitalizing Malta’s fight against trafficking, which subsequently led to an upgrade in Malta’s ranking in the Trafficking in Persons Report to Tier 2.
Catholic Relief Services has partnered with a local organization in Alexandria, Egypt to come to the aid of girls trafficked for forced begging and help get their lives back on track. The shelter’s staff attends to the girls’ psychosocial, medical, and legal needs; other members of the team work to overcome the many bureaucratic challenges and stigmatization of victims that prevent the girls from enrolling in school. Through the dedicated efforts of these caregivers, 21 girls have enrolled in school and have begun rebuilding their lives.
International Justice Mission (IJM), working with local authorities, secured the release of more than 1,000 Dalit bonded laborers in Chennai, India during the pilot phase of a continuing project that has since expanded to include Bangalore. This effort also seeks to secure rehabilitation funds and services for survivors, and to assist in apprehending and prosecuting perpetrators. IJM’s model for identifying, freeing, and assisting victims has been used to train more than 400 government officials. This pilot program has been so effective that IJM was recently able to secure a follow-on grant of $8 million from Google to replicate the model through partners in seven additional Indian states.
Capital Humano y Social Alternativo (CHS), a Peruvian nongovernmental organization, has worked with the Peruvian National Police to more than double the number of human trafficking investigations. CHS trained police officers nationwide to identify trafficking victims and use a new national registry system that records information about these crimes. The training course has been institutionalized in the national police academy and sub-officer’s schools in each department. CHS also maintained extensive follow-up communication with course participants to ensure retention of the information and keep them motivated to address this crime. By the end of the project, more than 500 individual cases were registered (up from four cases prior to implementation of the registry) and the government has a sustainable system in place for tracking investigations.
The Anti-Trafficking Coordination Unit of Northern Thailand (TRAFCORD) conducted nine rescue operations during the last year. TRAFCORD is aggressively combating trafficking among tribal populations, many of whom are stateless. During the most recent rescue operation, three Shan girls (with Burmese citizenship) were rescued from a brothel in Kanjanaburi Province. TRAFCORD knew from its intelligence collection that there were really six girls, not three, enslaved at the brothel, and they suspected a cover-up by the local police. TRAFCORD brought the investigation to the attention of the Lieutenant Police General and Commander of the region’s new anti-trafficking task force, and together they were able to rescue the remaining three girls and arrest the traffickers.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has worked on a global scale to provide short-term emergency assistance to victims of trafficking who are in desperate need of immediate support. In these critical situations, IOM will step in to address the victims’ needs, including risk assessment, shelter, basic necessities, counseling, medical and legal services, travel documentation, safe transport, and resettlement arrangements. For example, IOM worked in Jordan in September 2012 to screen and provide repatriation and reintegration services to more than 600 foreign domestic workers.
Over the past 10 years, J/TIP has funded 714 projects worth a total of $183,467,208; the average funding for a J/TIP project has risen considerably over the past ten years from $147,532 in 2003 to $435,818 in 2012. An increase in demand for assistance while overall funding levels have remained steady has meant that J/TIP must be increasingly strategic with the projects we choose to fund. With this in mind, our Office has worked to forge partnerships and to look for innovative ways to combat trafficking in persons. By awarding a smaller number of larger awards, J/TIP has worked to promote projects that will maximize impact for the amount of funding provided.