Obama Administration Accomplishments on Combating Trafficking in Persons as of February 2012
President’s Interagency Task Force & Senior Policy Operating Group
- On February 1, 2011, National Freedom Day, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton chaired the Obama Administration’s second meeting of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (PITF). Agencies discussed a broad range of issues including the ongoing need for increased victim identification and assistance, collaboration across law enforcement agencies to dismantle human trafficking networks and bring traffickers to justice, and leveraging resources by expanding anti-trafficking work into broader agency efforts.
- The Senior Policy Operating Group (SPOG) met four times in 2011 – in January, April, July, and October – and coordinated implementation of strategies and programs related to federal efforts to combat human trafficking. Building on advancements made in previous years, the SPOG sustained these efforts through standing committees, as well as new ad hoc working groups formed to address victim services and legislative matters.
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State (DOS) led a SPOG working group that developed and deployed an online, interactive training for the entire federal acquisitions workforce on combating human trafficking, and its contributing factors like the demand for commercial sex, using the pertinent provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). The 35-minute module outlines the definition of human trafficking and describes vulnerable populations, indicators, and relevant legislation. It articulates specific remedies for use if contractors engage in human trafficking, including suspension or debarment. Personnel in more than 10 federal agencies have already taken the training.
- Prompted by interagency efforts to address the issue of victim identification and assistance, relevant SPOG agencies participated in a public listening session hosted and organized by DHS, which was designed to allow stakeholders to share ideas on victim services, federal government engagement with local communities, outreach to at-risk groups, and non-governmental organization (NGO) and private sector initiatives and resources.
- In 2011, the SPOG Chair invited the Department of Transportation (DOT) to participate in the policy group. DOT’s participation has helped to expand federal coordination, particularly in increased victim identification and assistance in locating common routes used for trafficking within and into the United States. DOT joins the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Department of the Interior (DOI), which were first invited to participate in the PITF and SPOG in 2010.
- A SPOG working group on legislative matters facilitated the consolidation of agency comments into an Administration response to the House version of the bill reauthorizing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, as amended.
- Three standing committees continued to advance substantive areas of the SPOG’s work: Research & Data focused on statistics and data collection, Grantmaking generated a series of promising practices for successful grants, and Public Affairs revitalized its members to coordinate government-wide messaging.
- With participation of SPOG agencies, the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report) included for the second year a ranking and full country narrative for the United States. The U.S. narrative and ranking incorporated the input of civil society through a call for information in the Federal Register. It generated significant press, foreign government interest, and praise from the NGO community, advancing U.S. diplomatic efforts on human trafficking worldwide.
- DOS, the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Justice (DOJ), DHS, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Department of the Treasury (Treasury), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collaborated with the White House in the National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security. The National Action Plan’s goal is to empower women as partners in preventing conflict and building peace in countries threatened and affected by war, violence, and insecurity. With interagency input, one of the plan’s objectives is to strengthen U.S. efforts to prevent – and protect women and children from –trafficking in persons in addition to other harms. Each agency will develop specific plans for implementing the National Action Plan in the first half of 2012.
- DOS’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office) created a shared intranet site to serve as a central clearinghouse of information that all PITF agencies can use to share resources, training, and information vital to their work.
- SPOG agencies continued to share information on matters relating to grants, grant policies, and other significant actions regarding the international trafficking of persons to inform funding decisions and ensure they are not duplicative, but strategic and smart.
- DOS and DOJ have signed a one-year Interagency Agreement creating an Advanced Human Trafficking Investigator course at the FBI Training Academy at Quantico for Central American law enforcement officers. The first pilot session, scheduled for February 27-March 9, 2012, will train a total of 20 investigators from El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Panama. An additional session for 30 more investigators is anticipated in late 2012. If the pilot is successful, the training may be expanded to other regions pending additional resources.
- DOS, DOJ, and DHS have signed a one-year Interagency Agreement for INTERPOL Washington to replicate a successful capacity building program previously implemented in Africa to enhance the capacity of customs officials, immigration officials, border security officers, police officers and prosecutors in states with shared borders to enhance a regional response. This program will be implemented in three targeted countries with shared borders in the Central America region. It will culminate in a joint human trafficking law enforcement operation that will seek to reinforce the knowledge and skills learned during the training portion of the program and provide the nexus to allow ongoing activities of this type in the future.
Department of State
- On June 27, Secretary Clinton released the 2011 TIP Report covering 184 countries and territories, including the U.S. ranking and narrative. Since 2000, the Report has encouraged the enactment of anti-trafficking laws in over 120 countries, increased the numbers of victims identified and traffickers facing justice, and prodded recalcitrant governments to take their first significant anti-trafficking steps, planting the seeds for sustained political commitment to protection, prevention, and prosecution.
- The TIP Office conducted fair, transparent, and competitive grant reviews to support grassroots prevention, prosecution, and protection projects worldwide. During Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, the TIP Office awarded $24 million to 69 projects in 37 countries, including $4.5 million in FY 2010 funds specifically appropriated for anti-trafficking projects in Haiti, and approximately $3 million in FY 2010 funds allocated primarily for projects in India and Afghanistan. Together, these projects address both sex and labor trafficking and support efforts focused on child sex tourism, demand reduction, debt bondage, and forced child labor, among other things. As of January 2012, the TIP Office has 156 open and active projects in 66 countries totaling $60.2 million. The TIP Office’s foreign assistance budget was reduced from $21 million in FY 2010, to $16 million in FY 2011.
- In 2011, the TIP Office supported both rigorous program evaluations and evidence-based research to identify trends, close knowledge gaps on TIP, and inform policy and practice. With TIP Office funding, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) published a comprehensive report in June 2011 on trafficking within Southeast Asia. The TIP Office also funded IOM to further expand its Global Human Trafficking Database, which contains primary data on more than 16,500 registered TIP victims in more than 100 source and destination countries.
- The TIP Office is currently funding ongoing research projects including a case study assessing approaches to the investigation and prosecution of TIP cases and the protection of victims in three Tier 1 countries; a research study in a Middle Eastern country comparing a shelter for labor TIP victims and a shelter for sex TIP victims focusing on how each shelter is operated, similarities and differences between the victims, and the current rehabilitation methodologies being employed; and evaluability assessments, two of which were finalized in 2010 leading to the identification of two programs for full scale outcome evaluations, which are currently underway.
- Through a grant from the TIP Office, the Fairtrade Fund developed the Slavery Footprint (www.slaveryfootprint.org), a web- and mobile-based application that allows users to understand how their lives may intersect with modern slavery. Nearly three million users in over 200 countries have visited the site. This self-assessment tool is a unique effort to expand consumers’ understanding of how their own actions can drive markets for human trafficking, in particular the demand for slave labor in supply chains, and call them to action to change those habits.
- DOS is in the process of a fundamental reform of the J-1 visa Summer Work and Travel Program that will greatly reduce participants’ vulnerabilities to trafficking. The proposed new regulations represent the most significant reform of the program in its 48-year history. In 2011, a cap was placed on the number of participants and a moratorium was placed on new sponsor designations in order to focus on increased oversight by both sponsors and DOS. DOS consulted with a broad range of stakeholders including civil society, advocates, and local and federal government officials. Additional reforms are planned throughout 2012.
- DOS augmented its ongoing work to help protect foreign domestic workers of foreign diplomats in the United States and hold diplomatic missions accountable for their personnel’s treatment of their workers, including by implementing a system to track allegations of abuse and establishing additional requirements pertaining to the treatment of foreign domestic workers, including with regard to the payment of their wages. In early 2012, DOS will conduct briefings both for senior foreign mission personnel and for domestic workers on these matters. DOS has also met with foreign government officials and NGOs to learn about and consider additional protections.
- DOS collaborated with DHS to create a 15-minute online, interactive general awareness training on human trafficking, which is available on both DOS’s and DHS’s Internet sites.
- DOS issued a cable to embassies and consulates worldwide urging all contracting officers and contracting officers’ representatives to take the newly-developed FAR training for acquisitions personnel at the first opportunity.
- In an effort to address potential vulnerabilities for human trafficking in DOS procurement, DOS released a Procurement Information Bulletin (PIB) applicable to all DOS domestic and overseas contracting activities and Regional Procurement Support Offices which gives guidance to personnel on how to monitor contracts for counter-trafficking compliance.
- DOS’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) established its Human Trafficking Unit at its headquarters to support its field offices, increase participation in task forces, centralize case referrals, and offer training, particularly on interviewing and supporting victims of human trafficking. The unit will also assist other domestic law enforcement agencies in overseas investigation activities. DS also has a Victims’ Resource Advocacy Program that is designed to fully support any victims, including trafficking victims, discovered during the course of DS investigations.
- The newly formed DS Human Trafficking Unit was the lead investigative agency in a case that led to the indictment of a former foreign United Arab Emirates embassy employee Mervat Mohamed Fawzy Saleh Tolan, 52, and her husband Nabil Abdel Khalek Talaat, 55, both Egyptian citizens and formerly of Vienna, VA, by a federal grand jury on November 23 for forcing two Indonesian women to work long hours at well-below minimum wage as domestic servants in the defendants’ residence. The charges included forced labor, visa fraud, alien harboring, making false statements, and more. The victims alleged repeated sexual abuse and restrictions of their freedom over the course of their employment.
- DOS collaborated with several partners including the Business for Social Responsibility, Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility, Christian Brothers Investment Service, and Rabbis for Human Rights-North America to develop two webinars promoting the importance of corporate social accountability in combating modern slavery and sharing information on resources, tools, and training. DOS also elevated trafficking awareness through a well-attended conference in Rome, “Building Bridges of Freedom: Public-Private Partnerships to End Modern Day Slavery,” which focused on sharing anti-trafficking promising practices from the faith-based, corporate, and civil society sectors.
- DOS further engaged the hospitality, travel, and tourism sector in their efforts to develop training on human trafficking and raise awareness of the penalties associated with child sex tourism.
- DOS provided support to the International Business Leaders Forum’s pilot project to provide job- and life-skills training to trafficking survivors in at least 13 hotel sites in three pilot countries.
- In FY 2011, DOS’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) contributed $258,000 to the IOM for the Return, Reintegration, and Family Reunification Program for Victims of Trafficking in the United States. With the support of the TIP Office, PRM contributed an additional amount to enable IOM to clear a backlog of cases. Through the program, IOM helps trafficking victims who have been granted a T-visa status by providing financial and logistical support to family members who are eligible for T-visas so that they can join the victim in the United States. For trafficking victims who wish to return home, the program provides travel assistance, as well as help reintegrating into the home community to reduce the likelihood of re-trafficking. In 2011, the program helped 69 family members to join trafficking survivors in the United States, and made progress on dozens of ongoing cases.
- DOS’s Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) and TIP Office, and DHS’s U.S. Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS) work together to resolve recurring T- and U-visa processing delays. The group collaborates regularly to expedite time-sensitive cases to ensure victims’ families reunite before the children “age out,” and shares documents that are needed for stranded victims and their immediate family to get visas to return to the United States.
- DOS’s CA distributes at all visa-issuing posts a “know your rights” brochure – developed by the Department of State in consultation with DHS, DOJ, the Department of Labor (DOL), and NGOs – to recipients of visas in certain visa classes vulnerable to trafficking. The brochure has generated nearly 2,000 calls to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline.
- DOS’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) awards grants on a fair and competitive basis to support organizations promoting internationally recognized labor standards, as laid out in the eight International Labor Organization (ILO) core conventions. One portion of DRL’s labor programming targets forced labor directly and engages stakeholders to address underlying conditions that can lead to forced labor.
- DRL also participated in the roundtable launch of the USDOL-funded ILO guidelines to estimate forced labor of adults and children. The roundtable brought together United States Government (USG) and civil society actors to discuss the guidelines, in particular their usefulness to researchers and policymakers. The survey questions, which aim to identify involuntariness and coercion, can be streamlined into other surveys and tailored on a country-by-country basis to provide a more accurate measure of forced labor.
- DOS successfully advanced multilateral policy, including drafting and negotiating the text of an OSCE Ministerial Declaration on Combating all Forms of Human Trafficking, adopted on December 7, 2011. Additionally, DOS provided expert input for the new ILO Convention adopted on June 16, 2011 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers (C189) and its Recommendation (R201), which include provisions to help prevent domestic servitude.
- DOS supports International Law Enforcement Academies (ILEAs) overseas that deliver instructions to foreign law enforcement officials to address and help counter international crimes including trafficking in persons. In calendar year 2011, the ILEAs trained over 500 international law enforcement officials on counter-human trafficking topics.
Department of Defense
- DOD produced new Public Service Announcements on combating trafficking in persons for the America Forces Network (AFN). The announcements seek to combat both sex and labor trafficking and are aired on the Pentagon station, as well as on AFN television and radio at overseas locations.
- DOD enhanced individualized training by converting the latest version of the Trafficking in Persons General Awareness training course for delivery on mobile devices. The training is currently running on iPhone, iPod touch, iPad Androids, and Blackberry devices. A full course conversion, as well as a streamlined version, will run on any Internet accessible device.
- The Department of the Army revamped its contract monitoring procedures by adding a new reason code on the Excluded Parties List System, which identifies if a firm has been suspended/debarred for violations of the FAR prohibitions of trafficking in persons. In this way, firms and debarments can be more easily tracked. (https://www.epls.gov/epls/jsp/CTCodes.jsp?type=recip)
- Senior Contracting Officials in Iraq and Afghanistan have awareness brochures for companies employing third-country nationals to alert them to the severe penalties for human trafficking. The brochure is also published on the CENTCOM Contracting Command Contracting Office webpage (http://www2.centcom.mil/sites/contracts/Pages/GCO.aspx) and on the OSD DPAP Contingency Contracting webpage (http://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/pacc/cc/index.html).
- DOD created a wallet-sized card, translated into the seven languages most commonly spoken by workers in Iraq and Afghanistan that spells out their worker rights and provides hotline information to report suspected violations.
The Defense FAR Supplement added a requirement, published in the Federal Register in November 2011, mandating additional contract administration duties to maintain surveillance over contractor compliance for all DOD contracts.
- DOD held a Combating Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) workshop with presenters from other federal organizations and nongovernment organizations that provided DOD representatives with the latest TIP laws, regulations, and tools to improve the DOD CTIP program.
- U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) convened an interagency forum to address the problems of and to increase awareness of human trafficking within the USPACOM area of responsibility. Representatives attended from DOS, USAID, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
- The United States Forces in Korea (USFK) held meetings with bar owners, the Philippine Embassy, and Philippine women working as bar staff concerning Korean Immigration Law and the confiscation of employee passports. USFK Law Enforcement, DOD, and the Philippine Embassy’s efforts to identify possible trafficking victims have resulted in a noticeable reduction in the number of Philippine women working in bars outside USFK installations.
- DOD provided information on its work to raise awareness of human trafficking and anti-trafficking training modules to foreign government representatives under the International Visitor Leadership Program sponsored by DOS.
- The Army and the Corps of Engineers developed a requirement to perform reviews and assess contracts for trafficking indicators and report risk assessments and reviews, along with actions taken/remedies, when a problem is identified. The first data collection was completed on December 31, 2011.
The DOD Inspector General submitted a report to Congress on January 18, 2011 on its CTIP contracting efforts, and continues to conduct evaluations of DOD’s overall efforts regarding trafficking in persons:
- The third of a three part series of evaluations regarding DOD contracts within U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command was completed in December 2011. The report was published in January 2012.
- Fieldwork for an evaluation of DOD contracts performed in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan commenced in January 2012.
- A report on an evaluation of DOD Component CTIP programs is planned for April 2012.
Department of Justice
- DOJ’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorneys’ offices (USAOs) together brought 41 forced labor and adult sex trafficking prosecutions in 2011, charged 117 defendants, and secured 65 convictions.
Regarding forced labor and adult sex trafficking cases:
- DOJ secured a 12-year sentence against the lead defendant in a ground-breaking human trafficking and organized crime prosecution that dismantled a multi-national, organized criminal enterprise that exploited guest workers from multiple countries for forced labor in 14 states. Ten defendants were convicted in this prosecution in United States v. Askarkhodjaev.
- In another organized crime and forced labor prosecution, United States v. Botsvynyuk, DOJ secured the convictions of two defendants after trial for their roles in a scheme to hold Ukrainian victims in forced labor. Two additional defendants charged in connection with the scheme are pending extradition.
- DOJ secured life sentences against domestic and international sex traffickers in four separate cases.
- DOJ secured a 40-year sentence against the lead defendant in the sex trafficking case of United States v. Cortes-Meza following trial on charges of victimizing young Mexican women and girls in the Atlanta area.
Regarding child sex trafficking:
- In 2006, DOJ initiated Project Safe Childhood (PSC), which focuses on the effective prevention, investigation, and prosecution of technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation crimes. In May 2011, the Deputy Attorney General expanded PSC to cover all federal child sexual exploitation crimes, including the prostitution of children here in the United States. As a result, U.S. Attorneys are conducting a threat assessment of the harm posed in their districts by crimes involving the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
- The Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, in conjunction with the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), conducted training July 12-15, 2011 at the National Advocacy Center for prosecutors and investigators of cases involving the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The training included segments on trial preparation, how to obtain victim services, and unique issues related to these cases. Participants heard from attorneys, investigators, and service providers experienced in working with this population.
Selected Child Sex Trafficking Cases brought by CEOS and USAOs:
- U.S. v. Mozie, et al. (S.D. Fla.) – DOJ secured the conviction of three defendants on charges relating to their sex trafficking of minors. Two of the defendants, a common-law husband and wife, acted as pimps and prostituted adults and minors out of a house near Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, at which the third defendant provided security. Defendant Mozie would “initiate” the minor victims by engaging in sexual intercourse with them. At least four minor girls between the ages of 13-17 were identified as victims. Defendant Laschell “Shelly” Harris was sentenced to 13 years in prison. Defendant Willie David Rice, who provided security, was sentenced to four years in prison. Sentencing for Mozie is scheduled for 2012.
- U.S. v. Sullivan (N.D. Cal.) – DOJ secured the conviction of Edward Lee Sullivan for producing and possessing child pornography. In 2008, Sullivan trained a 14-year-old girl to work for him as a prostitute and produced numerous photographs and videos of the minor engaging in sex acts. The photos and videos documented the steps Sullivan took to prepare the minor for acts of prostitution. Sullivan is scheduled to be sentenced in 2012 and faces a maximum sentence of up to life in prison and a fine of $250,000.
- U.S. v. Sanderson (D. Conn.) – DOJ secured a sentence of over 25 years imprisonment for Jarell Sanderson of New Britain, Connecticut on child sex trafficking charges. Sanderson and his co-defendant Hassanah Delia of East Hartford, Connecticut recruited two 14-year-old girls to engage in prostitution in hotels in Connecticut. The defendants provided the minors with alcohol in order to dull their fears and threatened them on several occasions, including by telling the minors that Sanderson had a gun. Defendant Delia was sentenced to 110 months in prison.
- DOJ initiated a Human Trafficking Enhanced Enforcement Initiative to strengthen coordination within DOJ and among federal law enforcement agencies.
- DOJ implemented a directive within the Department to enhance coordination on issues related to human trafficking among USAOs, the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, CEOS, and the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit (HTPU).
- DOJ collaborated with DHS and DOL through the Federal Enforcement Working Group (FEWG) to conduct competitive nationwide selection process and launch six Pilot Anti-Trafficking Coordination Teams (ACTeams) to implement coordinated interagency strategy to develop high-impact human trafficking investigations and prosecutions in collaboration with national human trafficking subject matter experts, including DOJ prosecutors and experts at DHS’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), FBI, and DOL headquarters. Developed and disseminated interagency ACTeams Operations Guide.
DOJ advanced the U.S.-Mexico Human Trafficking Bilateral Enforcement Initiative, in collaboration with DHS and Mexican law enforcement counterparts, to develop high-impact bilateral investigations and prosecutions to dismantle international human trafficking networks, resulting in landmark convictions in coordinated prosecutions under both U.S. and Mexican law.
- Based on this collaboration, on September 3, 2011, Mexican authorities secured convictions and sentences of 37½ years each against two defendants and 28½ years against a third defendant in a bilateral sex trafficking case arising out of United States v. Rugerio in Atlanta, Georgia.
- In a second bilateral case, on June 28, 2011, Mexican authorities secured sentences of 16½ years against three sex traffickers and a sentence of 18 years against a fourth co-defendant in connection with a case arising out of Miami, Florida. Three members of the same sex trafficking ring were each sentenced to 15 years in Miami on November 16, 2011, in United States v. Cortes-Castro.
Throughout 2011, DOJ’s anti-trafficking grant programs and training and technical assistance initiatives continued to support communities in building capacity to combat human trafficking and assist victims:
- DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) added six new enhanced model task forces to support a comprehensive, victim-centered approach to combating all forms of trafficking – sex trafficking and labor trafficking of foreign nationals and U.S. citizens (male and female, adults and minors). BJA made six awards to support law enforcement agencies (one in each task force site) to coordinate the goals, objectives, and activities of the entire task force in close collaboration with the local U.S. Attorney’s Office and victim service provider partner. OVC made six awards to support a victim service organization (one in each task force site) to coordinate the provision of a comprehensive array of culturally and linguistically appropriate services to all trafficking victims identified within the geographic area covered by the task force.
DOJ’s BJA and OVC hosted three regional training forums across the United States to bring together active task forces with investigative and victim service functions. The forums facilitated an opportunity for tailored, peer-to-peer training focused on region-specific, skills-building, and intelligence-sharing for law enforcement, victim service providers, and other professionals engaged in combating human trafficking. The trainings took place as follows:
- Western Regional Forum: Tampa, Florida, January 11-12, 2011
- Northeastern Regional Forum: Hartford, Connecticut, March 23-24, 2011
- Midwestern Regional Forum: Chicago, Illinois, June 29-30, 2011
- DOJ’s BJA and OVC publicly released an online technical assistance tool on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day on January 11, 2011. The e-Guide is a comprehensive online resource to assist anti-trafficking task forces in establishing, strengthening, and operating multidisciplinary response teams to identify and assist trafficking victims across the country. The e-Guide can be found here: https://www.ovcttac.gov/TaskForceGuide/EGuide/Default.aspx
Ongoing Training and Technical Assistance Initiatives
- DOJ’s BJA-funded law enforcement agencies and OVC-funded victim services organizations conducted professional training with community stakeholders within their geographic regions in an effort to build capacity and improve the community’s response to human trafficking.
- DOJ’s OVC supported requests from the mainstream victim services field for training focused on understanding the needs of human trafficking victims and incorporating appropriate services into their existing client service model.
- · DOJ’s BJA and OVC supported technical assistance requests from non-DOJ funded anti-trafficking task forces to support their efforts to incorporate best practices into their task force structure.
- DOJ’s BJA supported the development of three skill-based trainings for law enforcement agencies, including: 1) Human Trafficking Training for State Prosecutors; 2) Human Trafficking Training for State Judges; and 3) Advanced Human Trafficking Investigation Training.
- DOJ’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) provided training and technical assistance to Mexican prosecutors, law enforcement and emergency responders through its AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance program. The purpose of this assistance is to prevent and combat cross-border child abductions and human trafficking in the U.S. and Mexico. These efforts were conducted in coordination with DOJ’s OPDAT and the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City with the full support of the Attorney General of Mexico and will continue in 2012. As a result of these efforts, Mexico has adopted Alerta AMBER México, a system similar to the U.S. AMBER Alert program.
- DOJ’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training (OPDAT) conducted 69 trafficking in persons programs in FY 2011 to build prosecutorial capacity in 16 countries (Albania, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Ghana, Indonesia, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, Serbia, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, and Ukraine), and organized programs for over 278 foreign visitors to participate in training programs with DOJ’s human trafficking experts.
Below are three examples of achievements facilitated by OPDAT:
- On December 23, 2011, the Government of Bangladesh (GOB) enacted a long-awaited comprehensive anti-trafficking law. The new law criminalizes all forms of trafficking, including the trafficking of male migrant laborers who comprise the majority of Bangladeshi trafficking in persons victims. This anti-TIP ordinance, a major milestone in Bangladesh’s efforts to combat trafficking, is the result of years of sustained efforts by the OPDAT Resident Legal Advisor to Bangladesh, as well as other DOJ and USG officials, to work with champions of the issue within the GOB. The Prime Minister’s personal involvement in pushing through the ordinance reflects GOB commitment at the highest levels to addressing this key human rights issue.
- The OPDAT Resident Legal Advisor to Russia spearheaded a successful Russian-American Trafficking in Persons Forum in Moscow on November 8-9, 2011. U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle and U.S. Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Luis CdeBaca joined Russia’s Presidential Administration Representative on Human Rights Vladimir Lukin and representatives from the International Organization for Migration and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to discuss human trafficking in Russia. Participants included approximately 70 international and Russian experts from the government, academia, law enforcement, religious organizations, and nongovernmental organizations, including two leading NGO experts from the US. The Forum resulted in the recommendation of several concrete steps for progress, including the formation of a network of TIP NGOs and religious organizations, and the re-establishment of a Russian-American law enforcement working group on TIP.
- On September 22, 2011, the OPDAT Resident Legal Advisor to the Philippines helped organize a judicial roundtable with the Philippine Judicial Academy focused on common appellate issues in TIP cases. The Philippines has struggled with trafficking in persons, but in the past year has made substantial progress, reflected in an upgrade to Tier 2 from the Tier 2 Watch List in the most recent annual TIP Report by the State Department. A major reason for the improvement has been the increase in successful TIP convictions, which was brought about in part by the prior assistance work of the OPDAT TIP Intermittent Legal Advisor. With the increase in convictions, the focus is now turning to the courts of appeals, and this TIP roundtable included 42 appellate court judges, more than half of all appellate judges in the Philippines.
- The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) at DOJ continued to expand its research portfolio on trafficking in FY 2011. NIJ sponsored three new research projects. The first is a detailed examination of traffickers and those that facilitate trafficking, focusing on who they are, why they engage in trafficking and how they organize. The second is a detailed evaluation of an intake form for trafficking victims with an eye towards developing a common intake form for the United States. The last project focuses on labor trafficking and tries to ascertain the reasons for under-reporting of this crime in the United States.
- DOJ’s OJJDP funded the Institute of Medicine and the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education of the National Research Council to study the commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors in the United States. The study will be conducted by a committee of independent experts who will review relevant research and practice-based literatures and make policy recommendations. The committee will examine, through a comprehensive literature search, workshops, and site visits: the scope and severity of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) and sex trafficking of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who are under the age of 18; causes and consequences for CSEC and sex trafficking victims and offenders, including the role of the child welfare and juvenile justice systems; evidence on efforts in human services, health care, and law enforcement to prevent CSEC and sex trafficking and to intervene with victims and offenders; lessons from international, national, state, and local advocacy efforts that contribute to successful intervention and prevention strategies; and the adequacy of current state and federal laws for addressing the CSEC and sex trafficking of domestic minors. The committee will recommend: strategies to respond to CSEC and sex trafficking of domestic minors; new legislative approaches, if necessary; and a research agenda to guide future studies in this field.
- DOJ’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) supported the international anti-human trafficking effort through program activities in seven countries on three continents. ICITAP also graduated 350 students from anti-trafficking training programs in Nigeria, the Philippines, and Tanzania.
Anti-trafficking international diplomacy:
- The Total Information Management System, developed by ICITAP and enabled with real-time checks against INTERPOL databases, was instrumental in the Albanian Border Police’s arrest of Serbian national Hektor Kelmendi, wanted on human trafficking charges in the U.S.
- ICITAP partnered with OPDAT and U.S. Embassy Belgrade to organize an anti-trafficking study trip for a Serbian delegation from the ministries of Interior and Justice, including visits to the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center (HSTC) in Washington, D.C., the State of Ohio Attorney General’s Office, and the FBI “Innocence Lost” Task Force in Toledo.
- ICITAP partnered with OPDAT and U.S. Embassy Belgrade to arrange for an FBI task force supervisor, an FBI victim specialist, and an Assistant U.S. Attorney from Ohio to travel to Serbia for a series of presentations and discussions about trafficking with police, prosecutors, judges, social workers, NGOs, and academics.
USG-funded international anti-trafficking programs:
- ICITAP provided assistance to the USAID mission in Cambodia in the design of a new anti-trafficking program.
- ICITAP served as a panel member at the U.S. Pacific Command’s first interagency symposium on CTIP.
- ICITAP gave trafficking presentations to 500 students at Kosovo high schools in support of the government’s Anti-Trafficking-in-Persons Awareness Campaign, with the goal to help prevent Kosovo’s youth from becoming easy prey for human traffickers and recruiters.
- Through its Services for Victims of Human Trafficking Program, DOJ’s OVC made grant awards to 11 victim service organizations with a demonstrated history of providing trauma-informed, culturally competent services to male and female victims of sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Funding under this program supports either a comprehensive array of services for trafficking victims in specific geographic areas, or specialized mental health or legal services over larger geographic areas. Funding also supports efforts to increase the capacity of communities to respond to victims through the development of interagency partnerships and public outreach and awareness campaigns. These 11 grant awards were made in addition to the 6 awards made by OVC in partnership with BJA under the enhanced task force model program. In total, OVC made 17 grant awards to support services for victims of human trafficking. A link to these victim service organizations can be found at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/grants/traffickingmatrix.html.
Department of the Interior
- Within the Department of Interior, the Federal Ombudsman (Ombudsman) provides assistance to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands' 30,000 plus nonresident workers with labor and immigration complaints. The Federal Labor Ombudsman participated in the Pacific Regional Conference sponsored by the DOJ, National Districts Attorneys Association, and DOS entitled, "Strategies for Justice: A Pacific Vision” in January 2011. The agenda for the conference focused on trafficking in persons, child sexual exploitation, and technology facilitated crimes. Over 400 participants gathered in Guam representing law enforcement, educators, health care providers, and social service providers from around the Pacific Region.
- In May 2011, the Ombudsman, along with other members of the Human Trafficking Intervention Coalition (HTIC) for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), sponsored an educational conference entitled "Human Trafficking Regional Training Conference." The HTIC is a coalition of law enforcement and social service organizations dedicated to fighting trafficking in humans in the CNMI as well as to provide immediate social welfare services to victims of trafficking. It was established in 2006 and has received numerous federal grants to continue its work. On September 14, 2011, the Ombudsman was elected the chairman of the CNMI HTIC. The Conference was the first regional training in the CNMI exclusively devoted to trafficking in persons issues and brought speakers from around the United States including AUSAs from South Carolina and victim shelter and rehabilitation directors from Cambodia. The Conference was attended by more than 250 participants from faith based organizations, law enforcement officials, services providers, and health care professionals from around the Pacific Region.
- Also in May 2011, Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs Anthony Babauta expanded the geographic scope of the Ombudsman’s work to include the entire Marianas. Since the announcement of the expansion of her region of responsibilities, the Ombudsman has made several trips to Guam to conduct out-reach to the community representatives from both faith-based and ethnic-based communities to begin to develop the mutual trust and partnerships necessary to combat trafficking of persons in the territory. She has also met extensively with Guam governmental officials, both executive and legislative, which is necessary for effective prevention and prosecution of this crime. Developing a federal and local partnership also helps to leverage the resources available for the protection of victims.
- On August 9, 2011, the Ombudsman participated as a presenter during the American Samoa Multi-Disciplinary Team Against Family Violence, in collaboration with the U.S. National District Attorney Association's (NDAA) National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse, hosted a conference entitled, "Weaving the Pacific to End Child Abuse." The focus of the Ombudsman's presentation was the experiences of establishing the Ombudsman office in the CNMI and its role in combating trafficking in persons. The presentation focused on the goal of establishing a regional approach to this effort.
- During the course of 2011 calendar year, 10 more victims of human trafficking sought assistance from the Ombudsman. Of these, based on extensive interviews and documentary evidence, it was determined that nine of these aliens had credible claims of victimization under the TVPA. The Ombudsman also assisted in the successful completion of federal law enforcement investigations of complaints involving 13 victims of trafficking or labor fraud. These investigations were referred to the U.S. Attorney for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands and prosecutions are either underway or awaiting sentencing. The office continues to actively assist approximately 72 victims of trafficking or labor fraud whose complaints were referred in 2009 and 2010 to Federal law enforcement agencies with these on-going investigations as well as humanitarian relief.
- The Ombudsman is working collaboratively with USAOs, FBI, and DHS in identifying and investigating claims of human trafficking.
- Throughout the year, the Ombudsman office has worked cooperatively with the legal community, lead law enforcement agencies, and Guma Esperanza with regard to victims seeking immigration benefits. The Ombudsman is aware of ten individuals who have received continued presence, and three victims as well as their derivative family members who have received T nonimmigrant status.
- In 2011, the Bureau of Indian Affairs began discussions with DOS’s TIP Office in regards to possibly updating the training at the Indian Police Academy for new officers. On December 1, 2011, U.S. Park Police (USPP) units responded to a reported domestic situation on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Laurel, Maryland. As a result of that response, USPP officers subsequently conducted an interview of an 18-year old female involved in the incident. Ultimately, it was discovered that the female was the victim of a kidnapping in August 2011 in North Carolina and was forced into providing sexual acts for money and moved state to state against her will. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Greenbelt, Maryland was notified and the victim was remanded to the FBI Human Trafficking Group for further follow-up.
- Plans are also being developed to provide human trafficking training to USPP personnel in the near future.
Department of Agriculture
- On April 12, 2011 USDA published a Federal Register Notice (FRN) to inform the public and seek comments on Guidelines for Eliminating Child and Forced Labor in Agricultural Supply Chains (Guidelines). These Guidelines were based on the December 21, 2010 recommendations of the Consultative Group to Eliminate the Use of Child Labor and Forced Labor in Imported Agricultural Products (Consultative Group) and contained a key list of practices that should be considered by those who want to adopt a program to reduce child and forced labor in their supply chains. The Notice and all public comments submitted in response to it are available on USDA’s website (http://www.fas.usda.gov/info/Child_labor/Childlabor.asp).
- Having carried out the activities provided for in its authorizing statute, the Consultative Group agreed that a new phase of activities should be undertaken to explore whether there is a lasting role for the Guidelines in the larger discussion about how to address child and forced labor in international agricultural supply chains. USDA is in discussions with DOL and DOS, which have ongoing mandates and significant expertise to address these issues. An important element of this effort will be the identification of and engagement with additional stakeholders. USDA can continue to provide data and expertise on agricultural trade patterns that may be helpful as the group continues its work.
Department of Labor
Detection and Law Enforcement
- DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) and Office of the Inspector General (OIG) have continued participating in the Federal Enforcement Working Group (FEWG) and are actively working alongside law enforcement partners in the six pilot ACTeams located in Atlanta, El Paso, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Memphis, and Miami. The WHD plays a key role, calculating restitution for victims, providing translation services where necessary during the course of anti-trafficking investigations, and helping to identify potential cases in the course of regular Wage and Hour inspections. The OIG investigates fraud and abuse related to DOL’s Foreign Labor Certification (FLC) Programs (PERM, H-2A, H-1B, H-2B, etc.), as well as non-traditional organized crime threats that may jeopardize the integrity of these FLC programs.
- The WHD is also participating in 26 BJA/OVC-funded task forces that are operating in 13 states, the District of Columbia, and the Northern Marianas. These task forces, composed of both federal law enforcement agencies and NGOs, are working to strengthen domestic trafficking investigations and prosecutions. Additionally, the WHD is participating in 12 non-BJA/OVC funded task forces, located in nine states. These task forces are comprised of federal, state, and local government agencies, along with a number of non-governmental organizations who have come together for a common purpose to combat human trafficking and to provide assistance to victims within the capabilities of the individual organizations.
Some examples of interagency investigations involving DOL include:
- United States v. Sabhani: In January 2011, the Supreme Court declined to review lower court judgments in the case involving two domestic servants and a Muttontown, NY couple that ran an international perfume enterprise. A federal human trafficking criminal trial occurred in 2007 that included Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) civil violations. Prosecution by DOJ resulted in a 2007 conviction on all 12 charges of a federal indictment that included forced labor, conspiracy, peonage, document servitude, and harboring aliens. The two defendants were convicted, and then sentenced in June 2008 to prison terms of 11 years and 40 months respectively. The criminal prosecution incorporated back wage restitution under the FLSA, consistent with restitution provision in Section 1593 of the TVPA. WHD and the NY Solicitor of Labor Regional Office coordinated with DOJ prosecutors, including development of the WHD issues and federal district court trial testimony by WHD’s regional staff. The criminal case and judgment incorporated FLSA back wage restitution of $679,866.98. The Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari effectively ends any further legal action on the case. There were sufficient assets seized from the defendants and deposited with the Clerk of the Court to pay the damages awarded.
- United States v. Akouavi Kpade Afolabi: In October 2010, Akouvai Kpade Afolabi was sentenced in the U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey to 27 years in prison for running a human trafficking ring that smuggled African girls into the United States and put them to work for no pay in hair-braiding salons in the Newark area. The smuggled girls worked 14 hours or more a day in the salons for no wages at all. Ms. Afolabi’s husband, Lassissi, previously pled guilty and was sentenced to 24 years in prison. Afolabi's son, Derek Hounakey, was sentenced to 4 1/2 years. The WHD Northern New Jersey District Office provided assistance in the case, computing $1,974,570.40 in minimum wage and overtime due 24 victims. The judge, struck by the egregious nature of the violations, doubled the amount, awarding the victims over $3.9 million in restitution.
- United States v. Liu: A complaint was referred to the United States Attorney and the FBI by the WHD Kansas City District Office regarding a domestic servant who had contacted the WHD. The victim stated that she was a native of the Philippines brought to the United States in early March 2011 on a B1 visa. She was brought into the United States by Hsien Hsien “Jacqueline” Liu, Director General for Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, after signing a contract in the Philippines agreeing to work for $1,240 per month. She resided with Ms. Liu at her private residence and worked as a maid, gardener, and cook. The victim indicated that upon her arrival, Ms. Liu took her passport and visa information, and indicated that the victim did not need her papers while she was in the house. The victim also indicated that once she arrived, Ms. Liu told her she would be paid $450 in cash per month, and that if she complained, she would have the victim deported. The victim stated that she worked six days per week, totaling approximately 84 hours per week. Information provided by the WHD resulted in an investigation of Ms. Liu that ultimately led to her arrest and guilty plea, in November 2011. During the course of the investigation, a second domestic servant who had worked for Ms. Liu was discovered and located in the Philippines. Working with the Kansas City AUSA, $80,000 in FLSA back wages were computed and collected for the two women. Ms. Liu is awaiting sentencing, and will be deported immediately afterwards.
- United States v. Askarkhodjaev: DOL’s OIG was involved an interagency investigation that led to the government seeking over $6 million in fraudulent profits via asset forfeiture. The investigation disclosed a Eurasian organized criminal enterprise that conspired and filed fraudulent labor applications that permitted over 1,150 foreigners to enter the United States on questionable work visas. The exploitation and intimidation of these foreign workers through fear, threats of deportation, and other adverse immigration consequences subjected them to conditions of servitude. In May 2011, Uzbek foreign national Abrorkhodjaev Askarkhodjaev was sentenced to 12 years in prison and three years of supervised release for his role as the leader of the criminal enterprise. Askarkhodjaev was also ordered to pay over $1 million in criminal restitution to victims in the following amounts: $172,000 to the foreign worker fraud and forced labor victims, $12,000 to an extortion victim, $191,000 to insurance companies, and $632,000 to the Internal Revenue Service. In April 2011, Kristin L. Dougherty was sentenced to 60 months in prison, followed by three years probation for his role in the conspiracy. Dougherty was the second highest ranking member of the criminal enterprise, and controlled the St. Louis based operation through several service companies that filed thousands of H-2B visas for foreign workers. In February 2011, Uzbek foreign national Ilkham Fazilov was sentenced to 41 months in prison for his role in the conspiracy. Fazilov fraudulently received certification for 87 H-2B workers from the DOL FLC program for his company, Five Star Cleaning. Five Star administered payroll for undocumented and H-2B workers it provided to Giant Labor Solutions.
- The Department has taken steps to protect temporary foreign workers, a group at particular risk for trafficking, and U.S. workers performing the same work for their employers. Following the promulgation in March 2010 of a final rule regarding the Temporary Agricultural Employment of H-2A aliens in the United States, the WHD and the Employment and Training Administration’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification, have stepped up both program integrity and enforcement actions to ensure a fair and reliable process for employers with a legitimate need for temporary foreign agriculture workers, while enforcing the necessary protections for all workers in the United States. DOL has also taken robust enforcement actions under the H-2B program for temporary non-agricultural employment since DHS delegated enforcement authority to the WHD in 2009. The WHD enforces broad federal minimum wage and overtime protections for other workers as well, including those who participate in the J visa program.
- The Department published a final rule on January 19, 2011, regarding prevailing wages for the H-2B program (scheduled to take effect on October 1, 2012), and a final rule on February 21, 2012 (effective April 23, 2012), regarding other aspects of the H-2B visa program, both of which enhance worker protections and may impact labor-related aspects of trafficking in persons.
Examples of recent Wage and Hour Division H-2A and H-2B enforcement actions include:
- The WHD obtained a judgment requiring Los Angeles based Global Horizons, Inc. and its president Mordechai Orian to pay $153,000 in back wages to 88 temporary agricultural workers from Thailand employed in Hawaii, plus $194,000 in civil money penalties for committing significant violations of the federal H-2A program. The defendants failed to pay employees for all hours worked and to pay the correct hourly wage rate, impermissibly withheld federal income tax and made illegal deductions from workers’ wages for meals and other basic living expenses. Defendants also failed to maintain required payroll records and produce them upon the Division’s request, and illegally solicited agreements from workers to waive their rights and decrease their wages. The defendants were found jointly and severally liable for 11 categories of violations, warranting back wage payments, penalty assessments, and a mandatory three-year debarment from participation in the H-2A program.
- Kona Coffee Grounds LLC has paid $25,290 in back wages to 24 employees from Michoacán, Mexico, after an investigation by the WHD determined that the Holualoa, Hawaii-based company violated provisions of the H-2A visa program for temporary agricultural workers. The firm has also paid $21,000 in civil money penalties after DOL determined that the company procured signed statements from workers in an attempt to make them waive their rights under the H-2A program, which is prohibited under the program’s regulations. The firm had promised employees a set piece rate for each pound of picked coffee beans, with a minimum hourly rate guaranteed by H-2A program requirements; however, when the crop was light and their piece rate earnings were low, the employees were paid fewer wages than those to which they were entitled. The investigation also revealed that the company failed to pay workers an amount equal to at least three-fourths of the hours guaranteed in the work contract, as is required.
- Vanderbilt Landscaping Inc., of Smyrna, Tennessee has agreed to pay $18,496 to 42 workers after an investigation by the WHD found that the company violated the FLSA. The company did not compensate workers for visa and transportation costs, which reduced their wages to less than the federal minimum wage. The company also failed to compensate workers for all hours spent conducting job duties, resulting in employees not receiving premium pay when they worked more than 40 hours during a week. In addition to back wages, the company agreed to pay $18,000 in penalties based on WHD’s findings that the company had willfully violated the H-2B visa rules governing the employment of nonimmigrant temporary workers, and it has also agreed not to participate in DOL’s foreign labor certification H-2B program for a period of three years. Investigators found that the company willfully violated certain provisions of the rules, including placement of workers outside the area of intended employment, not conducting required recruitment of U.S. citizens, and misrepresenting the reason for its temporary need to hire H-2B workers.
- In April 2011, WHD announced new protocols for the certification of the Form I-918 Supplement B in U nonimmigrant visa applications for those immigrants who are victims of crimes and who are willing to assist in the investigation or prosecution of those crimes. The function of certifying Form I-918 Supplement B has been delegated to the WHD’s five Regional Administrators. The WHD is in the process of hiring permanent U visa coordinators in each of its five regional offices; until then, the Regional Administrators are actively considering requests for certification with the advice of interim coordinators.
- On March 22-23, 2011, as part of the annual National Monitor Advocate training conference, the State Monitor Advocates received training from DOL’s National Monitor Advocate and from a DOJ investigator on the Job Service Complaint System, and on human trafficking, respectively. The objective of these two sessions was to provide the State Monitor Advocates information on how and where to refer complaints filed by migrant and seasonal farm workers alleging human trafficking violations.
- DOL is finalizing plans to provide basic awareness training to key enforcement field staff throughout the country in an effort to enhance the capability to detect and refer cases of trafficking in persons.
Transnational Engagement, Monitoring, and Research
- On August 29, 2011, DOL finalized the signing of Joint Declarations with the governments of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic, and the Letters of Agreement with all three, as well as with El Salvador. The Declarations aim to ensure that foreign workers in the United States are informed of their labor rights through information sharing, outreach, education, training, and the exchange of best practices. Such information can assist vulnerable workers, including those who may have been trafficked. The Declarations also represent a step towards enhancing coordination and cooperation with these governments on labor related issues.
- According to grantee performance reporting, approximately 100,000 children have been prevented from being trafficked or have been withdrawn from trafficking and provided educational/training services as a result of DOL-funded technical assistance projects overseas since 1995.
- In October of 2011, DOL’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) released updates to three reports on child labor and forced labor: 1) the 2010 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor (TDA Report); 2) the List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor per the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 (TVPRA List); and 3) the Executive Order 13126 List of Products Produced by Forced or Indentured Child Labor (Executive Order List). ILAB updated the TVPRA List to add two new goods and one new country for a total of 130 goods from 71 countries. ILAB also published in the Federal Register a new initial determination proposing to add two new products and two new countries to the Executive Order List. These reports continue to serve as important resources for DOL to assess future technical assistance and research priorities as it seeks to combat child labor around the world.
- Pursuant to mandates under the TVPRA, ILAB continues to provide funding for research related to child labor and forced labor in violation of international standards. In December 2011, the ILO published a study funded by ILAB, along with the governments of the United Kingdom and Ireland, titled, Hard to See, Harder to Count: Survey Guidelines to Estimate forced labour of adults and children. This guidance provides a comprehensive approach to operationalizing what constitutes forced labor through a set of forced labor indicators; step-by-step guidance to survey implementation; sampling techniques; core questions that must be asked to discern forced labor; data analysis techniques; and ethical considerations. Although the guidelines are explicitly designed for quantitative data collection, they are also applicable to qualitative research design and implementation.
- DOL’s Employment and Training Administration’s network of approximately 2,900 One-Stop Career Centers and its Job Corps Program continue to offer employment and training services to victims of severe forms of trafficking, as provided under the TVPRA. Updated guidance to the Workforce system and the Job Corps Program is underway, including a revised Training and Employment Guidance Letter and a webinar training for One-Stop staff.
- Victims of convicted traffickers must be provided full restitution for the labor they performed. DOL’s Wage and Hour Division assists such victims in computing back wages as part of its interagency collaboration with law enforcement partners.
Department of Health and Human Services
HHS Certifications and Eligibility Letters completed in Fiscal Year FY 2011:
- Certifications: 463
- Eligibility Letters: 101
During FY 2011, HHS funds administered by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (HHS/ORR) supported/assisted:
- Case management services to 729 foreign trafficking victims and their family members through 107 agencies in 124 locations.
HHS distributed 772,328 Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking public awareness campaign materials (posters, brochures, etc.) and posted online, in English and Spanish, its Rescue & Restore training video Look Beneath the Surface. See (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqyzW84I3Dc) for English version.
- An example of HHS support for increased sustainability is that at least 20 anti-trafficking coalitions have remained affiliated with ORR's Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking public awareness campaign after ORR funding ended. The coalitions continue to support the public awareness campaign by distributing Rescue & Restore materials during outreach activities. ORR lists the coalitions' contact information on its website and the coalitions participate in HHS WebEx trainings.
- HHS-funded NHTRC received 16,244 calls and 733 emails and provided 227 trainings to 15,260 people.
Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA):
Unaccompanied Alien Children:
- HHS continues full implementation of Section 212(a)(2) of the TVPRA, which requires the HHS Secretary to promptly determine if an alien child in the United States who may be a victim of trafficking is eligible for interim assistance. The HHS Secretary delegated authority to implement this provision to the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families (ACF) who further delegated it to the Director of ORR.
- The ORR Division of Unaccompanied Alien Children screened approximately 7,476 unaccompanied alien children during FY 2011 for trafficking.
Anti-Trafficking in Persons:
HHS/ACF’s Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division in ORR has two Child Protection Specialists dedicated to reviewing requests and facilitating the prompt delivery of assistance to eligible children. In FY 2011, ATIP Child Protection Specialists have conducted training and outreach activities regarding services for foreign child trafficking victims including:
- HHS conducted training at DHS’s ICE headquarters for new ICE Victim Assistance Coordinators working with foreign born minors who are victims of trafficking. HHS presented on federal benefits available to potential foreign national child victims of trafficking and the process for requesting eligibility of children for these benefits and care options.
- HHS attended a conference on child slavery hosted by a Minnesota-based anti-trafficking NGO. HHS presented on identifying foreign-born minor victims of trafficking. Approximately 100 service providers attended.
- HHS’ Office on Women’s Health in ACF Region VII hosted a Kansas City Human Trafficking Training focused on "Responding to Foreign Child Victims of Trafficking."
- HHS presented at the National Symposium on Child Abuse, hosted by the National Children’s Advocacy Center. HHS presented on screening and identifying foreign national child victims of trafficking, referring them for federal benefits and HHS placement options for unaccompanied alien children.
- HHS conducted trainings for ICE and FBI agents, and a non-profit that frequently refers minor victim cases to HHS.
- HHS participated in a conference on child trafficking hosted by the Michigan State Refugee Coordinator’s office. HHS participated on a panel with an Assistant U.S. Attorney, FBI and ICE agents, and legal service providers who regularly work with victims of trafficking. Approximately 150 people attended the conference.
- HHS partnered with DHS’s USCIS to conduct five WebEx trainings on T and U visas, the Trauma Resiliency Model, first offender prostitution program, engaging volunteers in anti-trafficking outreach, and how to assist American Indian trafficking victims. Participants included social service providers, federal and local law enforcement, academic researchers, state officials, and representatives from international entities.
- HHS/ACF’s Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division in ORR has two Child Protection Specialists dedicated to reviewing requests and facilitating the prompt delivery of assistance to eligible children. In FY 2011, ATIP Child Protection Specialists have conducted training and outreach activities regarding services for foreign child trafficking victims including:
During FY 2011, the HHS/ACF Family Violence Prevention and Services Program supported anti-trafficking efforts by:
- Partnering with DHS’s USCIS to provide training for staff from domestic violence programs on immigration relief for vulnerable populations including victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, and other crimes. In FY 2011, these webinar-based and in-person trainings have reached over 200 domestic violence victim advocates and State Domestic Violence Coalition staff.
- Providing human trafficking training and technical assistance to domestic violence advocates through the Program’s Culturally Specific Special Issue Resource Center the Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence (APIIDV). APPIDV developed a brief on the health issues, trauma, and oppression impacting people who are trafficked, and a technical assistance brief for domestic violence programs to navigate the implications of serving trafficked women and adapt their policies and procedures accordingly. This technical assistance brief can be downloaded from www.apiidv.org
Supporting over 1,700 local domestic violence programs and State Domestic Violence Coalitions in each State and Territory. Several Coalitions are conducting state-level training and coordinating services and advocacy for both domestic and foreign victims of trafficking who come in contact with domestic violence programs. For example:
- In response to state anti-trafficking legislation, State Domestic Violence Coalitions in Georgia and Vermont will offer specialized training to domestic violence programs to build their capacity to respond to the very specific needs of trafficking victims, and work on a public awareness campaign.
- Coalitions in Nebraska, Idaho, and Wisconsin facilitate state-wide Task Forces or networks to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts. Several other State Coalitions participate in such initiatives.
During 2011, the HHS/ACF Family and Youth Services Bureau continued to support anti-trafficking efforts by:
- Providing 13 resource articles regarding Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children to Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Centers (RHYTTAC) website (http://rhyttac.ou.edu/topic-specific-resources).
- Meeting with the FBI Crimes Against Children Unit to discuss the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative. An outcome of the initial meeting has been continued discussion on how HHS, the FBI Crimes Against Children Unit, and the Office of Victims Assistance can work collaboratively in the provision of safe and effective services for children and youth who have been identified as a victim of commercial sexual exploitation (trafficked).
- Partnering with the FBI to bring together four HHS community-based runaway and homeless youth programs that currently work with the FBI as pilot programs to accomplish mutually agreed upon objectives and outcomes in the provision of services to trafficked children and youth.
- Offering specialized services specifically geared towards sexually exploited youth through federal programs, such as FBI’s Innocence Lost or OJJDP Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, to several HHS Runaway and Homeless Youth Grantees.
During 2011, the HHS continued to support anti-trafficking efforts by awarding grants:
- On July 1, 2011, HHS awarded $3 million in grants to 11 organizations for the Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking Regional Program. The central purpose of these grants is to increase the identification and protection of human trafficking victims in the United States and to increase public awareness about human trafficking. The grantees are responsible for leading or participating in an anti-human trafficking coalition, conducting public awareness activities, and providing training and technical assistance on human trafficking issues to local organizations. Each grantee must sub-award at least 60 percent of grant funds received to local organizations that can identify and/or work with victims of human trafficking.
- On September 27, 2011, HHS awarded $4.7 million in grants to three organizations for its National Human Trafficking Victim Assistance Program. The central purpose of these grants is to provide comprehensive case management services on a per capita basis to foreign victims and potential victims of trafficking seeking HHS certification in any location in the United States.
- On September 29, 2011, HHS awarded $799,333 for a second-year continuation grant to Polaris Project, a D.C.-based anti-trafficking organization, to operate the NHTRC. The NHTRC is a dedicated, toll-free, U.S. national telephone hotline (1-888-3737-888) that provides emergency assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. Polaris Project has been operating the hotline since December 2007. The NHTRC provides service referrals for victims, passes on tips to law enforcement agents, and provides information and training on human trafficking. In FY 2011, Polaris Project created nine online trainings that are available on its website (http://www.traffickingresourcecenter.org), and it sent 12 monthly newsletters on trafficking issues to its listserv of 5,522 members. Polaris Project added a feature to the NHTRC website that allows web users to report possible tips of trafficking cases to the NHTRC via an online reporting form. Polaris passes on many of these tips to law enforcement.
During 2011, the HHS/ACF Regions continued to support anti-trafficking efforts by:
- Identifying points of contact for each HHS/ACF Regional Office to coordinate with the ACF Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, sharing information regarding anti-human trafficking training opportunities and developing the network of resources available to those serving trafficking victims.
HHS/ACF Regional Offices also hosted anti-trafficking trainings or meetings including the following:
- ACF Region II (New York: New Jersey; New York; Puerto Rico; the Virgin Islands): On December 16, 2011, ACF Region II hosted the first of an HHS-sponsored conference call series for ACF regions to explore issues and approaches to working with underserved populations. This particular session focused on Responding to the Issue of Domestic Violence Awareness among Service Providers Working with Refugees and Immigrants with presentations by stakeholder organizations such as the Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence; Casa de Esperanza; the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence; and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. Upcoming 2012 sessions include Anti-Trafficking 101, and Human Trafficking and Native Americans.
- ACF Region IV (Atlanta: Alabama; Florida; Georgia; Kentucky; Mississippi; North Carolina; South Carolina; Tennessee): In September 2011, the ACF Region IV office hosted a Strengthening Families State Forum in Columbia, South Carolina during which a DOJ attorney presented on human trafficking to approximately 70 community and faith based organizations, including Head Start.
- ACF Region V (Chicago: Illinois; Indiana; Michigan; Minnesota; Ohio; Wisconsin): ACF Region V Office and the Illinois Rescue and Restore hosted its first in a series of “Lunch and Learns” on anti-trafficking in persons on April 25, 2011. Basic information on human trafficking, including how to identify victims, was provided. ACF Region V hosted Illinois Rescue and Restore Coalition meetings. At these meetings, Illinois Department of Human Services staff and ACF Regional staff facilitated meetings with discussion on local efforts to enhance statewide anti-trafficking strategies, including the current efforts of the coalition's Prevention and Intervention Action Teams and training opportunities for coalition members. The ACF Region V Office and the Illinois Department of Human Services Rescue and Restore Coalition hosted the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE) a train-the-trainer seminar on a youth prevention curriculum, “Empowering Young Men to End Sexual Exploitation” – the first curriculum in the country that directly addresses demand deterrence for commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking with young men. The three educational goals of the curriculum are: 1) raising awareness among high school age students about the harms of the sex trade; 2) helping young men understand how our culture pressures them to support and engage in sexually exploitive acts; and 3) empowering young men to identify tangible actions they can take to help eliminate sexual exploitation in their school, community, and city. Regional staff and coalition members were trained on becoming facilitators of this curriculum in schools and youth settings.
- ACF Region VI (Dallas: Arkansas; Louisiana; New Mexico; Oklahoma; Texas): The ACF Region VI Federal Partners Collaboration Workgroup hosted an information sharing/training meeting on adult human trafficking. Presenters included the Region VI Regional Director’s office, the HHS/HRSA Rural Health/Border Director, the Dallas Police Vice Unit/Strategic Deployment, and Mosaic Family Services.
- ACF Region VII (Kansas City: Iowa; Kansas; Missouri; Nebraska): The ACF Region VII Office facilitated a panel discussion on human trafficking during the Region V and VII TANF Directors Technical Assistance meeting. The office also co-hosted a Region VII Human Trafficking Workshop in collaboration with HHS’ Office on Women’s Health, and DOL’s Women’s Bureau in Kansas City, Kansas. They hosted visitors from China through the International Visitors Council of Greater Kansas City and provided an overview of Human Trafficking Victim services and support in the metropolitan Kansas City Area.
- ACF Region VIII (Denver: Colorado; Montana; North Dakota; South Dakota; Utah; Wyoming): On June 2-3, 2011, the ACF Region VIII office conducted two classes for its staff on human trafficking.
- ACF Region IX (San Francisco: Arizona; California; Hawaii; Nevada; American Samoa; Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; Federated States of Micronesia; Guam; Marshall Islands; Republic of Palau): With representatives from Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s office, ACF Region IX met with a Human Trafficking Delegation from South Korea on July 28, 2011, in San Francisco. The Delegation was visiting as part of DOS’s International Visitor Leadership Program. Participants discussed trafficking programs and services, cultural factors, practices that prevent victims from accessing assistance, and laws regarding protection.
- On December 16, 2011, ACF Region IX staff met with the Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence (San Francisco) to discuss and begin to explore sexual exploitation and trafficking of youth to the Bay Area, including convening meetings with refugee, domestic violence, trafficking, and AAPI organizations.
- ACF Region X (Seattle: Alaska; Idaho; Oregon; Washington): ACF Region X Office collaborated with the Director of the Human Services Department for the City of Seattle on their strategic plan, and continues to provide the federal perspective on the steering committee for the city’s projects, which serve local commercially- and sexually-exploited youth. Region X staff participates in local community fairs, along with DOJ and non-profits, to outreach to community members on the Rescue and Restore Campaign, and provides Rescue and Restore campaign materials. Region X staff support the efforts of Washington Engage, a local non-profit group, to develop a Code of Conduct for small to medium sized businesses, to raise awareness in the business community and to provide a standard for good businesses. The code will provide a zero-tolerance trafficking policy standard. The hope is that peer-to-peer influence will shift current practices in the local business community so that trafficking will be reported, remediated, and prevented more readily. The Code provides a means for the business community to communicate standards of practice for employees, suppliers, customers, and peers. Regional Office staff networked with the Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition in Anchorage, Alaska. Catholic Social Services (an ORR grantee) partners with the Anchorage Police Department and the FBI to identify and provide services to victims of human trafficking due to increased incidents of trafficking of Alaska Native girls who come to Anchorage from Alaska Native villages.
During FY 2011, HHS staff conducted trainings on human trafficking in several anti-trafficking conferences including:
- The 2011 Office of Women’s Health Conference, held in Alexandria on June 27-28. HHS presented at a poster session during the conference and hosted an information table to provide ATIP’s public awareness materials. Multiple HHS program staff, HHS Regional Office staff, and state and local representatives indicated that they either have been using ATIP’s Rescue & Restore information or plan to greatly expand the use of the materials and information, including for state-wide trafficking training for all state government employees in Georgia and Mississippi.
- HHS spoke on accessing federal benefits and services for trafficking victims at an anti-human trafficking conference in Austin, TX. Attendees at the conference included law enforcement officers, prosecutors, service providers, state legislators, and other policy experts.
- HHS discussed Federal benefits and services for trafficking victims and participated on the panel with staff from DOJ HTPU and OVC, FBI, and ICE at the National Center for Victims of Crime’s annual conference held in Washington, D.C.
Department of Transportation
- During this past year, the Department of Transportation formed an interdepartmental team to explore ways through which DOT can raise awareness and be helpful in addressing the role of transportation in human trafficking. The Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is concerned that the perpetrators of this crime are using our transportation system as their means to achieve harmful and unlawful ends. This issue was brought to the Department's attention by some of our stakeholders, representing a range of transportation modes.
- Over a number of months, DOT partnered with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the Blue Lightning campaign. Specifically, DOT's Federal Aviation Administration worked with DHS and CBP to establish in-flight advanced reporting procedures via flight deck communications that will reduce the response time for law enforcement. This voluntary, advance reporting allows CBP to research and formulate an appropriate response, including coordination with other federal agencies as needed. Airline personnel may report suspected human trafficking via DHS’s ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) toll-free tip line, the online tip form, an internationally available tip line number, or through flight deck communications. In addition to the Blue Lighting Initiative, DOT is now reviewing how it can provide training for DOT employees, and is working with all of our modes of transportation - surface, air and sea - on other potential initiatives.
Department of Education
- The Department of Education (ED) remains an active participant in a number of groups addressing the exploitation and abuse of youth. One immediate goal is to provide school districts with expanded services to address the issue of trafficking in youth.
The Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS, previously the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools) was reorganized under the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at ED. However, the program office is continuing its strategy to consolidate and augment its existing work around child safety to build a more comprehensive program to educate school districts about human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Over the past year, ED accomplished the following on the topic of human trafficking:
- OSHS developed web pages under the heading: “The Prostitution of Children and Forced Child Labor or Human Trafficking.” The web pages are presented on the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance Center website. The web pages include in-depth information describing human trafficking, the extent to which it is an issue across the nation, its impact on schools, and strategies for addressing it in a school setting (i.e. identification and reporting). The web pages include interactive links and information regarding federal agencies and organizations involved with human trafficking issues, available resources, and related publications and reports. The pages are accessible at http://rems.ed.gov/index.php?page=resources_Additional§ion=1i1.
- A National Conference sponsored by OSHS was held in the Washington, D.C. area, August 8-10, 2011. The conference was attended by nearly 2,000 professionals carrying out educational program activities in school districts across the country and in postsecondary institutions. Program areas included: school improvement, support, and safety; bullying, harassment, and violence prevention; health, mental health, physical education, and counseling in schools; alcohol and drug prevention; and readiness and emergency management for schools. The conference agenda included larger institutes and smaller workshops to elevate public awareness about trafficking and to highlight the positive impacts of domestic anti-trafficking programs. Targeted topics on trafficking included the commercial sexual exploitation of children and ways that schools can join the fight to end modern day slavery.
- Grossmont Union High School District (San Diego, CA), with assistance from OSHS, the program office, developed a 90-minute training video to instruct school staff on how to identify commercial sexually exploited children and what to do when they are identified. The REMS Technical Assistance Center plans to assist in the distribution of these training materials.
- Staff worked closely with the Office on Violence Against Women on issues related to sexual abuse and assault and, through several mechanisms including webinars and listserv articles, introduced and addressed trafficking in persons.
- Announcements about training opportunities, reports, and other publications about trafficking in persons were included in program office publications, including the Safe and Supportive Schools Newsletter and the Prevention Newsletter. The newsletters are distributed through a very large and active listserv that is used as a mechanism to notify individuals about training opportunities, on-going research, new publications, and grant opportunities. The announcements included information about the issuance of a letter and fact sheet on trafficking; and the release and sharing of information about other agencies’ anti-trafficking in persons materials, conferences, trainings, and funding opportunities (i.e., HHS opportunities for national human trafficking victim assistance program, DHS online training through the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, etc.).
- OSHS staff actively participate in the Missing and Exploited Children Federal Working Group sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Senior Policy Operating Group sponsored by the Department of State; the Department of Justice External Strategy Working Group; the Teen Dating Violence Interagency Working Group sponsored by the National Institute of Justice; among others.
ED continues to make progress on several endeavors previously reported:
- Dissemination of fact sheet that describes how human trafficking affects schools, the signs that school staff should be aware of, and how to report incidents of trafficking (http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osdfs/factsheet.html).
- Ensuring that materials on ED web pages is accurate and up-to-date and includes information and consolidated resources relevant to child trafficking http://rems.ed.gov/index.php?page=resources_Additional§ion=1i1.
- Identifying what school districts are doing that is effective in addressing the trafficking problem, including the use of OSHS listserv to solicit ideas about what is working.
- Planning a webinar series created in collaboration with grantees already working on issues of child trafficking.
- In addition to the accomplishments listed, ED will continue to focus on the following: providing outreach to schools to inform school leaders, staff, students, and parents about the issue of human trafficking; helping schools understand how the issue is related to teaching and learning and why it is important for schools to address; providing school security and police with information, additional assistance, and resources; and assisting other federal agencies in the dissemination of information about their efforts.
Department of Homeland Security
DHS increased its capacity to combat human trafficking through the strengthening of the DHS Blue Campaign, an initiative to coordinate and enhance departmental efforts to address human trafficking. Seventeen components collaborated on an integrated DHS strategy to combat human trafficking focusing on prevention of the crime, protection of victims, assistance in the prosecution of perpetrators and partnering with other law enforcement agencies and the public.
- DHS, in collaboration with DOS and with input from the interagency, developed an unprecedented interactive online training for the general public. The 15-minute training provides an overview of human trafficking, describes common indicators, and explains how to report tips to law enforcement. The training is available at (www.dhs.gov/humantrafficking).
- DHS, in collaboration with DOS and with input from other agencies, produced an online training for the federal acquisition workforce on combating human trafficking using the pertinent provisions of the FAR. In addition to other remedies available to the government, the FAR articulates specific remedies for use if contractors engage in human trafficking, to include suspension or debarment. The training is accessible to the federal acquisition workforce on the Federal Acquisition Institute Training Application System at (https://www.atrrs.army.mil/faitas/).
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) worked with DOT to launch the Blue Lightning Initiative, an in-flight protocol and a training program to educate airline employees on how to identify human trafficking in airports or during flights and how to notify law enforcement. This voluntary, advanced reporting allows CBP to research and formulate an appropriate response, including coordination with other federal agencies as needed. Airline personnel may report suspected human trafficking via the ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) toll-free tip line, the online tip form, an internationally available tip line number, or through flight deck communications.
- DHS developed a computer-based training for DHS personnel who might encounter human trafficking within their scope of work. The online course trains employees in their anti-trafficking roles and responsibilities and familiarizes them with the roles and responsibilities of their colleagues throughout DHS. The Department also developed computer-based training for all DHS personnel on the statutory confidentiality provisions related to applicants for certain immigration benefits who are victims of trafficking, domestic violence, and other crimes.
- The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) conducted numerous in-person trainings on identifying indicators of human trafficking, case-studies of trafficking cases and immigration relief available to trafficked victims as part of its State and Local Law Enforcement Training Symposiums. FLETC has trained over 500 officers who attended these symposiums in Laredo, Texas; Gulf Shores, Alabama; Traverse City, Michigan; Virginia Beach, VA; and Maui, HI.
- USCIS conducted numerous in-person and web-based trainings and presentations on combating human trafficking and on immigration benefits for victims, including to federal, state, and local law enforcement, immigration advocates and attorneys, judges, and more. Personnel traveled and conducted in-person trainings in cities across the United States, including in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Atlanta, Miami, Seattle, Portland, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Washington, D.C.
- USCIS conducted regular bimonthly WebEx trainings for federal, state and local law enforcement specific to law enforcement focused on concerns and issues unique to law enforcement’s role, rights, and responsibilities in the T and U visa programs, while also highlighting the certification process on the I-914B and I-918B law enforcement certification forms.
- USCIS personnel conducted training in Asylum field offices on identifying trafficking victims in the context of affirmative asylum adjudications. All eight asylum offices have received this training. Training was also conducted on the asylum-related provisions of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA). Finally, USCIS personnel presented a module on trafficking issues at the Asylum Officer Basic Training Course, which is taken by all newly hired asylum officers. Each asylum office has designated a trafficking point of contact, and these points of contact have established communication with their local ICE SAC trafficking points of contact and local ICE Victim Assistance Coordinators to establish referral and information-sharing mechanisms on trafficking-related cases.
ICE conducted trainings and distributed materials throughout the United States and around the world to raise awareness among law enforcement and the public about how to identify human trafficking and provide tips to law enforcement. In FY 2011, ICE trained or provided anti-human trafficking materials to over 47,000 people.
- ICE provided international training and outreach on international forced child labor, trafficking in persons, and child sex tourism to over 1,000 foreign officials in Bahamas, Barbados, Cambodia, Chile, Costa Rica, Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, Hungary, Kosovo, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. ICE collaborated with foreign Cabinet-level officials in the respective host countries to engage appropriate and specialized law enforcement entities to participate in these prosecution, prevention, and protection efforts. This collaboration led to several joint or ICE-assisted foreign investigations.
- Working jointly with the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM), ICE conducted an advanced and interactive training in Costa Rica regarding Trafficking in Persons, Forced Child Labor, and Child Sex Tourism Investigations to law enforcement and prosecutors from 10 different countries in this multilateral forum.
- Working jointly with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Cabinet-level officials from seven Central American countries, ICE conducted advanced training in Costa Rica regarding Trafficking in Persons, Forced Child Labor, and Child Sex Tourism Investigations. The training to foreign law enforcement and prosecutors focused on investigative efforts, victim identification and protection, as well as multilateral efforts within the region.
Public Awareness and Engagement
- DHS conducted a stakeholder meeting in January 2012. During the meeting, representatives from DOS, DOJ, DOL, HHS, DOT, and DHS made announcements and/or participated in a listening session on issues related to victim services and ongoing efforts to prevent and combat human trafficking.
- DHS held a roundtable discussion with Secretary Napolitano on human trafficking at the White House in January of 2012. Representatives from the retail, hotel and airline industries, state, local and tribal law enforcement and NGOs discussed ways they could work to raise awareness and training on human trafficking.
- This year, CBP released the “Don’t Be Fooled” public awareness campaign in the United States. As part of DHS’s continued efforts to engage a broader audience in efforts to combat human trafficking, "Don’t Be Fooled" utilized award-winning public service announcements (PSAs) to educate the public on human trafficking in targeted communities throughout the country. The PSAs aired in Florida, Georgia, and the Washington, D.C. area.
- CBP developed a public awareness video message that was played on the CNN Airport Network in airports throughout the country for the duration of the year. CBP also posted anti-human trafficking public awareness materials in ports of entry around the United States.
- ICE produced advertisements for the 2010 and 2011 “Hidden In Plain Sight” campaign, which was featured in 64 different newspapers in languages including English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Thai. The campaign reached an estimated five million people. The goal of the campaign was to alert the public about the existence of human trafficking in communities nationwide and to prompt a call to action for individuals who encounter possible victims.
DHS provides a suite of materials to enhance public awareness and explain the types of services and resources that are available to victims of human trafficking. These materials are disseminated across the United States, are available for order, and are regularly distributed to domestic embassies by DOS.
- USCIS developed a concise document for a law enforcement audience about immigration options for victims of crime, highlighting the law enforcement role, rights and responsibilities in the T and U visa programs and addressing frequently asked questions. This product was developed in response to requests by stakeholders for USCIS to address some misconceptions and spread awareness among law enforcement agencies.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), and the Office of Health Affairs (OHA) created a video for first responders that explains what indicators of human trafficking they might encounter and what they can do to direct victims to services. This video was developed as a result of feedback from stakeholders.
- CBP created indicator cards for the Blue Lightning Initiative, featuring human trafficking indicators that may be seen in airports or on airplanes.
- FEMA, USFA, and OHA tailored indicator cards to include health-related human trafficking indicators that first responders, such as firefighters and EMTs, may notice.
- The DHS Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships produced an informational pamphlet on combating human trafficking geared toward the specific needs and interests of faith-based constituencies.
- DHS created a one-page fact sheet for any business or community organization to provide a brief 3-5 minute training.
- USCIS developed a video for the public about the immigration options available to victims of crime, including human trafficking. DHS also created a training video for first responders that explains what indicators of human trafficking they might encounter and what they can do to help victims. The videos are available online.
- DHS continues to meet with its federal partners, nongovernmental and community organizations, and private sector partners to receive stakeholder feedback, individually, on its anti-trafficking programs and to help shape future initiatives. The semi-annual stakeholder meetings facilitate targeted outreach efforts, including engagement with emergency management and medical professionals.
- DHS has also performed outreach to private companies to increase their awareness of human trafficking. In January of 2012, the DHS U.S. Fire Administration distributed human trafficking training materials to approximately 18,000 hotel and motel properties.
- USCIS and ICE participated in an MSNBC-TV story about the experience of victims of human trafficking, adjudication of the T visa, and perpetrator justice. USCIS allowed the reporter to interview personnel at the Vermont Service Center, which adjudicates all T and U visa relief. This is the first time the broadcast media has been allowed to record video inside the Vermont Service Center. MSNBC broadcasted the segment as part of its series, “Enslaved in America.” DHS continues to raise awareness and engage a larger audience through use of social media. The Blue Campaign Facebook Page has reached over 1,200 likes and regularly posts human trafficking indicators, tips on how to report suspected human trafficking, and the latest news on Blue Campaign initiatives.
Victim Assistance and Perpetrator Justice
- Together with Attorney General Eric Holder and DOL Secretary Hilda Solis, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the initiation of ACTeams in six districts around the country. These specialized teams of representatives from DHS, DOJ, and DOL receive support from foremost technical experts on human trafficking investigations, prosecutions, and victim assistance.
- ICE has expanded its Homeland Security Investigations Tip Line to include an online submission form. Individuals around the world can report suspicious criminal activity, including human trafficking, through a phone line or online form 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Highly trained specialists take reports from both the public and law enforcement agencies on possible violations of more than 400 laws enforced by ICE. Report at (866) 347-2423 or www.ice.gov/tips.
- ICE conducted more investigations containing a nexus to human trafficking this year than ever before, resulting in 722 initiated cases, 271 convictions, and seized assets of over $2,000,000. In recognition of the needs and unique challenges of interviewing trafficked minors and other child and special needs victims, ICE doubled the number of Forensic Interview Specialists available to support ICE-led investigations.
- ICE HSI amended and re-issued the Continued Presence Protocol, which included guidance to law enforcement agencies on victims of human trafficking who have filed a civil action and significant public benefit parole for family members of human trafficking victims who have received Continued Presence.
- For the second year in a row, USCIS reached the annual statutory cap for U visas (10,000), which provide relief for victims who cooperate in the investigation or prosecution of certain crimes, including human trafficking and domestic violence. USCIS also saw an increase in T visa applications, which are set aside specifically for victims of human trafficking.
- USCIS implemented greater confidentiality protections for victims with pending or approved applications for immigration relief. The Central Index System database now has a specific code that alerts DHS personnel when an individual is covered by the confidentiality provisions associated with Violence Against Women Act self-petitions or T or U nonimmigrant status petitions.
- As part of the ICE Victim Assistance Program, two full-time Forensic Interview Specialists are available to conduct developmentally-appropriate, legally-defensible, victim- and culturally-sensitive forensic interviews for all ICE investigations, domestically and internationally. Interviews can be conducted in English and Spanish, or in any language through an interpreter.
- ICE has designated 39 specially trained human trafficking subject matter experts – at least one in every ICE Special Agent in Charge office. These individuals are trained to handle human trafficking leads, address urgent victim needs appropriately, and serve as designated points of contact for local officers and leads.
- DHS stood up a cross-component working group in July 2011 to proactively address concerns and ensure that age-appropriate care and services are provided to unaccompanied alien children encountered by DHS personnel. The working group contains subcommittees tasked with addressing three primary areas for improvement in the management of unaccompanied alien children: screening and training, including on child-trafficking victims; short-term care and custody; and external coordination.
- The US Coast Guard Intelligence Coordination Center, in cooperation with the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center (HSTC), co-hosted the seventh Maritime Migration and Human Smuggling and Trafficking Conference at the National Maritime Intelligence Center in Suitland, Maryland. The three-day conference attracted over 80 representatives from 18 U.S. and nine Canadian government law enforcement and intelligence community agencies. The Conference addressed Intelligence Community (IC) Migration and Human & Smuggling Trafficking issues. The conference also provided a forum for analyst and operator dialogue, discussion of best practices, and IC/law enforcement networking.
- ICE continues to play a leading role in the HSTC, which was established to achieve greater integration and overall effectiveness in the U.S. government's efforts to combat human smuggling, trafficking in persons, and clandestine terrorist travel. The HSTC coordinates activities to ensure that efforts are addressed globally. It also brings together federal agency subject matter experts from the policy, law enforcement, intelligence, and diplomatic arenas to work together and leverage all participating agencies' expertise and authorities to address the global threat of illicit travel.
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
- The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) took steps to raise the profile on human trafficking activities across the Intelligence Community, which included efforts to link policy makers with members of the Intelligence Community.
- ODNI and DOS’s INR and TIP Office held a small targeted seminar on human trafficking and intelligence. Members of the intelligence community and DOS officers gathered to discuss trafficking-related intelligence, with the goal of raising the intelligence community’s awareness about this issue.
U.S. Agency for International Development
- On February 23, 2012, USAID launched the new Counter-Trafficking in Persons Policy. The policy enables the Agency to be a catalytic partner in C-TIP, reinvigorating and focusing our efforts on concrete, measurable principles and objectives. These include integrating counter-trafficking activities across development sectors, improving program design to capture lessons learned and best practices; enhancing institutional accountability within USAID to address trafficking through training and coordination; increasing investments in countries with global strategic importance and significant trafficking problems, as well as in conflict and crisis-affected areas; leveraging innovation and technology and partnering with the private sector. The policy, led by the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA), in partnership with the Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning, reflects the Agency’s renewed commitment to being a leader in this field.
- USAID’s new policy builds on the Counter-Trafficking Code of Conduct that the Agency launched in February 2011 in commemoration of National Freedom Day. The Code holds all employees to the same high ethical standard with respect to human trafficking that the Agency requires of its contractors and grantees through its application of the FAR and TVPA clauses. The Code prohibits employees from engaging in actions fostering trafficking and requires them to report suspected cases. In the Code, the Agency pledges to educate personnel and designate Counter-Trafficking Coordinators in Missions.
- In 2011, USAID moved forward to train Agency personnel about trafficking, with a particular focus on the Agency’s Counter Trafficking Code of Conduct. In February 2011, USAID conducted a two and a half day regional Latin America and Caribbean counter-trafficking training in Guatemala attended by participants representing four USAID missions, two U.S. embassies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, implementing partner organizations, and the Government of Guatemala.
- In 2011, DCHA, working in collaboration with Regional Bureau TIP Advisors, the General Counsel’s office and the Bureau for Human Resources, incorporated trafficking into agency-wide ethics training and the Agency’s mandatory New Employee Orientation training for civil servants. Additionally, DCHA is currently supporting the development of an online counter-trafficking training module for Agency personnel that will be launched later in 2012 and revising the two and a half day TIP training to incorporate the principles and objectives of the new C-TIP Policy.
- DCHA is developing a Counter-Trafficking Field Guide that will be published later in 2012. The Guide will be distributed to USAID Missions and Washington operating units, as well as to implementing and donor partners, to aid in designing and monitoring effective counter-trafficking programs that are consistent with the principles and objectives of the C-TIP Policy.
- In the field, USAID invested in innovation and technology to combat trafficking. For example, in June 2011, DCHA launched the Stop Trafficking App Challenge, completing phase I of the Using Technology to Combat Trafficking in Persons in Russia project that began in September 2010. Under the Agency’s Global Broadband and Innovations Alliance, DCHA, NetHope, and the Demi and Ashton Foundation have partnered to support a mobile app to combat trafficking in Russia. The App will be piloted in Moscow in 2012.
- USAID continued to leverage private sector partnerships to combat trafficking. The Agency continues to support a multimedia trafficking awareness campaign across Asia through a public private partnership with MTV Exit. This $8 million USAID investment has leveraged $100 million in contributions from other donors. Impact assessments of the campaign, which has reached millions of households through short videos, documentaries, and online content and over 650,000 youth through concerts, revealed that individuals exposed to the campaign had a substantially greater understanding of the dangers of trafficking than those not exposed. In Cambodia, USAID is investing in additional MTV Exit awareness activities in 2012. DCHA and the Europe and Eurasia Bureau (E&E) are currently expanding the MTV Exit campaign to Russia
- USAID remained committed to strengthening regional approaches to most effectively combat cross-border trafficking. In South Eastern Europe, for example, E&E supported a comprehensive cross-border referral mechanism for trafficking victims in ten countries. The referral guidelines and protocols helped shape local laws, including several National Action Plans to Combat Trafficking.
USAID supported programs to strengthen local and host government partnerships and to build local capacity to combat trafficking, for example:
- In the Democratic Republic of Congo, USAID trained Congolese researchers to collect data to assess the country’s complex human trafficking situation. Their findings will be released in a 2012 report to inform Congolese government and stakeholders and guide U.S. programming decisions moving forward.
- In Mexico, USAID provided technical support to the Puebla State Congress for the drafting and approval of reforms to trafficking in persons legislation initially passed in 2010. This reform was the first of its kind in Mexico, consolidating several issues related to C-TIP into a single legislative package. This groundbreaking legislation provides a clear, unified legal framework for the prosecution and punishment of traffickers and also provides for prevention, protection, and victims’ assistance programs.
- In Cambodia, USAID supported extensive counter-trafficking training, including: 1) the training of 130 members of the National Committee and Provincial Committee on Trafficking in Persons, who were trained on safe migration and National Minimum Standards for the Protection of the Rights of Victims of Trafficking; 2) the training of 485 government and 75 NGO social workers on the National Minimum Standards for the Protection of the Rights of Victims of Trafficking; 3) 100 people, either victims of trafficking or those vulnerable to trafficking, received vocational training assistance; 4) the training of 119 police officers from the Criminal Investigation Department and Anti-Human Trafficking Department on the Trafficking in Persons law, investigation techniques, and victim protection; and 5) the production of two training films for frontline service providers, one focusing on post-rescue victim rehabilitation and the other on safe migration practices.
- USAID/Ghana, with technical assistance from DCHA, is incorporating counter-trafficking language into its solicitations for Feed the Future projects. The language will require all Feed the Future project implementers to conduct a TIP assessment in the sector in which they will work (fishing, rice, soya, etc.) prior to starting project activities. If TIP is a problem in their sector, implementers will be required to integrate C-TIP activities into their Feed the Future programs.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. Most employers with at least 15 employees are covered by EEOC-enforced laws (20 employees in age discrimination cases). Most labor unions and employment agencies are also covered. The laws apply to all types of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits.
- Because its core mission is to protect people from unlawful employment discrimination, the EEOC is well situated to partner with its sister agencies in combating trafficking. What first presents itself as sexual harassment, for example, may reveal through investigation a situation of coerced labor. Thus, the EEOC staff needs to be well-versed in trafficking indicators. They can insure that attorneys representing clients before the Commission have access to training, that the resources of state and local fair employment agencies are brought to bear, and that those offices around the country can participate in the federally-funded trafficking task forces. With these knowledge bases and proper resources, the Commission and its partners in civil enforcement could dramatically increase the number of trafficking victims identified and the remedies obtained for those victims. Whether or not a criminal trafficking prosecution is pursued in a particular case, civil enforcement and litigation of anti-discrimination laws can be important to vindicating the federal interest and obtaining civil remedies, as has been the case in workplaces as diverse as egg farms, welding yards, and garment factories.
Public Meeting of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- In January 2011, designated by President Obama as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the EEOC held a meeting designed to educate and inform the public about the problem of labor trafficking and the EEOC’s role in combating the problem. It provided a public forum for participants to discuss the current state of the problem, challenges, opportunities, and recommendations to EEOC Commissioners and staff for how to improve its work in this area. The meeting opened with testimony by the Ambassador-at-Large in the Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. DOJ’s Hilary Axam provided additional testimony concerning the federal government’s role in ending human trafficking. EEOC Regional Attorney Anna Park and Sathaporn Pronsrisirisak, one of more than 48 workers victimized by modern slavery whose claims were litigated by EEOC in EEOC v. Trans Bay Steel, also testified. Finally, Panida Rzonca, Program Associate from the Thai Community Development Center, testified about her organization’s work on the Trans Bay Steel case and Ana Vallejo, Supervising Attorney from the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, testified about the subject of trafficking in persons in the context of the agricultural industry. A transcript of the meeting and the full text of the witnesses’ written testimony may be accessed at (http://eeoc.gov/eeoc/meetings/1-19-11/index.cfm).
Related Litigation and Enforcement Activities
EEOC v. Global Horizons
- In April 2011, the EEOC filed suits in federal district courts in Hawaii (Civ. No. CV-11-00257-DAE-RLP) and Washington (Civ No. 2:11-cv-03045-EFS) against Global Horizons (a farm labor contractor) and eight farms on behalf of 249 Thai male Charging Parties and a class of similarly situated Thai workers. The EEOC has alleged that Global Horizons and the farms violated Title VII by subjecting workers to a pattern or practice of discrimination based on national origin (Thai) and race (Asian), including harassment, setting different terms and conditions of employment including pay and constructive discharge. EEOC also alleged that the employers retaliated against the Thai workers by threatening them with or subjecting them to suspension from work, deportation, and physical harm.
EEOC v. Signal International
- In April 2011, the EEOC filed suit in federal district court in Mississippi (Civ. No. 11-cv-00179) charging that Signal International, a marine services company with facilities along the Gulf Coast, subjected at least 500 Indian welders and pipe-fitters at its Mississippi and Texas locations to segregated facilities and discriminatory terms and conditions of employment in violation of Title VII. The EEOC’s suit alleges that these workers, brought into the country by a separate entity not part of the lawsuit, were required to live in segregated “man camps” enclosed by fences; were charged an inordinate amount for substandard housing and unwholesome food; were demeaned by being referred to by numbers instead of their names; and, in some cases, were subjected to unlawful retaliation for complaining about the substandard conditions and discrimination.
Public Education, Outreach, and Training
- EEOC’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs informed media outlets across the country about the January Commission meeting and the litigation against Global Horizons and Signal International. http://www.eeoc.gov//eeoc/newsroom/release/4-20-11b.cfmhttp://www.eeoc.gov//eeoc/newsroom/release/4-20-11a.cfm
- Commissioner Stuart J. Ishimaru is leading EEOC’s Immigrant Worker Team (IWT), a new nationwide convening designed to strengthen enforcement of Title VII’s prohibitions against national origin discrimination and develop and implement a coordinated effort to combat discriminatory employment practices affecting immigrant workers, including human trafficking. IWT will assess the Commission’s outreach to immigrant workers, and related training, data collection, and enforcement activities.
- An EEOC delegation, led by Commissioner Ishimaru, attended the Freedom Network’s Conference on Human Trafficking in March 2011. The Conference presenters and materials helped to inform the work of the IWT, expanded participants’ understanding of human trafficking issues, and allowed EEOC leadership and staff to network with representatives from other agencies and NGOs combating trafficking.
- The EEOC’s New Investigator Training was expanded to include information about the unique aspects of human trafficking cases. This training was conducted in March 2011 for 60 newly hired EEOC Investigators.
- EEOC also trained representatives of state and local Fair Employment Practice Agencies (FEPAs) and Tribal Employee Rights Organizations (TEROs) in the identification, investigation and eradication of human trafficking (FEPAs and TEROs partner with the EEOC to remedy employment discrimination). A plenary session of the EEOC’s National Fair Employment Practices Agencies Training Conference focused on human trafficking issues and was attended by approximately 120 of its enforcement partners from state and local anti-discrimination agencies.
- EEOC’s emphasis on the identification and investigation of human trafficking violations was presented to all EEOC District Directors and Regional Attorneys at the District Directors/Regional Attorneys meeting held in July 2011. The panel included Commissioner Stuart Ishimaru, General Counsel P. David Lopez, and Jennifer Sultan from DOJ's Office of Special Counsel.
- To ensure the proper identification and tracking of human trafficking charges, EEOC is in the process of making changes to its charge data system, which will allow it to follow easily and in a timely manner human trafficking charges throughout the investigative and litigation process.
- EEOC field offices have become members of external human trafficking task forces in their respective states, which comprise NGOs that assist trafficking victims and law enforcement agencies.
- Outreach has been conducted nationwide by field offices to Hispanic rights groups, federal/state/local governmental agencies, educational associations, women’s rights groups, and Asian American/Pacific Islander groups, on human trafficking issues. During 2011, EEOC representatives conducted 36 events conducted in communities impacted by human trafficking or reaching organizations that focus on trafficking issues. More than 1,100 people participated in these programs in 2011.