Directed by Sec. 204(a) of the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-425).
I. Include in protection strategies monitoring, surveillance, verification, and reporting on populations most at risk for trafficking in post-conflict and humanitarian emergency situations, including special attention to children.
The Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development advocate with the Global Protection Cluster (GPC), led by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), for enhanced protection against human trafficking and assistance for trafficking survivors. The GPC Anti-Trafficking Task Team promotes anti-trafficking awareness in emergencies leading to the inclusion of trafficking prevention and response in the humanitarian response plans in Venezuela, Syria, and Burma. The U.S. Government’s humanitarian contributions to UNHCR, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) also facilitate their coordination to address human trafficking. Separately, the Department funds a project that seeks to develop or strengthen national referral mechanisms in Aruba, Curacao, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru to better identify and safely report instances of human trafficking in the context of Venezuelan refugee and migration flows. Another Department project works with the local authorities in Lebanon to identify and refer trafficking victims among migrant populations, including Syrian refugees. Last quarter, the government referred 16 children for services under this project. Another project in Ukraine enhanced the capacity for trafficking prevention, screening, and services for vulnerable populations, particularly internally displaced persons (IDPs) and children living in institutional settings. In addition, multilateral support to a UN partner has assisted States in ensuring that trafficking victims who lack identity documents are able to establish their nationality, which prevents them from being rendered stateless.
USAID’s Counter-Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) Policy directs the Agency’s global C-TIP efforts around five strategic programming objectives. One objective is to increase C-TIP investments in conflict and crisis-affected environments. Across humanitarian contexts, USAID partners establish women’s and girls’ support centers to identify opportunities to reduce vulnerability to human trafficking. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Tushinde Ujeuri program supports and reintegrates trafficking survivors, including children, and gathers trafficking data. In accordance with 2019 legislative mandates, USAID led the development and launch of Advancing Protection and Care for Children in Adversity: A U.S. Government Strategy for International Assistance (2019-2023). Together, these approaches address the root causes that leave youth vulnerable to trafficking and include metrics and indicators to monitor progress to prevent violence against youth in post-conflict and post-disaster areas. Missions like Liberia have now included C-TIP considerations across their development objectives. USAID also supported IRC to pilot the Supporting Adolescents and Their Families in Emergencies (SAFE) resource package in the Central African Republic, which will help tailor resources for adolescents to provide family and community-based psychosocial support and life skills.
II. Continue to ensure that all humanitarian responders place emphasis on the protection of the most vulnerable populations at risk for trafficking, particularly women and girls. Integrate trafficking issues into existing training and sensitization for emergency responders, including security personnel, health workers, camp coordinators, and aid workers.
The U.S. Government has a long history of investing in emergency response activities that protect women and children to reduce vulnerabilities they face in displacement, especially human trafficking, and to respond to survivors’ needs. The U.S. Government also has one of the most comprehensive protection requirements for humanitarian partner organizations.
A global Department project is improving the responses to human trafficking in emergency contexts by building first responder capacity and developing and strengthening tools for multiple implementers worldwide. The implementer is piloting tools and training modules in crisis-affected regions to encourage early and effective integration of human trafficking considerations into response and recovery efforts.
USAID continues to require that all Agency employees complete human trafficking training, which includes code of conduct and policy requirements on reporting allegations and protecting beneficiaries. USAID’s C-TIP Policy prioritizes integrating counter-trafficking activities into programming across all sectors, including emergency aid. USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance requires all deploying staff to complete a two-day Humanitarian Protection training, which includes recognizing vulnerability factors and supporting quality protection programming.
USAID released its first-ever Agency-wide Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) Policy in March 2020. While it is not exclusive to human trafficking, it outlines commitments to improving the Agency’s response to allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse and upholds higher prevention standards throughout USAID-supported assistance. USAID is also working with humanitarian partners to ensure field staff implement PSEA guidance. A USAID partner is providing tailored support to organizations in four strategically selected countries – Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Indonesia, and the Philippines – as they institute PSEA policies and systems. The partner will generate a model to combat harm, exploitation, and abuse, including trafficking. USAID is also working to improve local and national health systems to protect against gender-based violence (GBV), human trafficking, xenophobia, and discrimination against Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Colombia. USAID trains public servants to prevent GBV and human trafficking, create local response plans to combat these issues, and reach 15,000 people through cultural transformation strategies to implement municipal health plans.
III. Consider including in protection programs interventions that address underlying economic vulnerabilities, and create child-friendly spaces that may reduce the risk of trafficking.
The Department works with a range of partners to integrate child protection, assistance, and education programming into humanitarian responses. These efforts enhance access to critical services, such as case management, psychosocial support, short- and long-term care arrangements, and legal support for documentation, including birth registration, to support caregivers, strengthen child-friendly spaces, and build community and national systems to address children’s needs.
Department-funded livelihoods programs for forcibly displaced people promote social and economic integration and strengthen self-reliance, minimizing economic vulnerabilities that may increase the risk of trafficking. A Department project in Guyana, managed by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP), is providing direct services to trafficking victims, including vocational education and entrepreneurship, reducing the risk of re-trafficking for these individuals. Sixty percent of victims assisted to date were Venezuelan nationals.
In Peru, a Department-funded Child Protection Compact Partnership, also managed by J/TIP, is working to strengthen government capacity to combat all forms of child trafficking, including sex and labor trafficking of Venezuelan refugee children. Activities include training criminal justice practitioners on victim-centered approaches to investigations and prosecutions of child trafficking cases, the establishment of five new child trafficking shelters, implementation of a national reintegration program for child trafficking survivors, and community leader mobilization to prevent and identify potential child trafficking cases. In Lebanon, a Department project provides children, including vulnerable migrants and Syrian refugees, with psychosocial and other protection services through its Child Protection Center, which enrolls the children in local schools, provide homework support, and hosts a range of structured extracurricular recreational activities. Last quarter, 29 children received assistance through the program.
USAID’s Advancing Protection and Care for Children in Adversity: A U.S. Government Strategy for International Assistance (2019-2023) facilitates the reunification and reintegration of children living outside of parental care, including those trafficked, into safe, nurturing, and loving families; invests in the development of national systems to identify, enumerate, and document children who are, or at risk of, living outside of family care; supports the strengthening, implementation, and enforcement of laws and policies to prevent, respond to, and protect children from all forms of violence and abuse.
USAID funds numerous Women and Girls Safe Spaces (WGSS) in Burma and Iraq, where women and girls are at particular risk of trafficking. These WGSS provide a vital entry point for women and girl survivors to access information, specialized care and referrals; prevent violence and exploitation; support psychosocial well-being; and, enhance integration into community life. In South Sudan and Somalia, where children are at risk for forced marriage, child labor, and other exploitation, USAID funds Child Friendly Spaces where children and their families can receive case management and build life skills. To reduce risk of trafficking in Nigeria, USAID empowers women and girls with in income-generating activities and enrolls women in village savings and loan associations to enhance their control over financial resources. In Afghanistan, USAID funded the creation of 54 Youth Safety Networks, peer-support groups for trafficking victims, particularly boys vulnerable to sexual violence from bacha bazi. Youth received psychological support and resiliency training and were empowered to raise awareness about trafficking and take appropriate steps when faced with the crime. Also, in Afghanistan, a USAID GBV-training better equipped 8,500 Women in Leadership-program graduates to defend themselves and other young women against forced marriage.
IV. Raise awareness through public information campaigns post-conflict and after natural disasters about the threat of trafficking to populations most at risk.
A Department project in Guyana has produced and disseminated Spanish-language materials with key information on trafficking risks and available resources, including the trafficking hotline, targeting vulnerable Venezuelans in the country.
In FY 2018, a USAID C-TIP program in Afghanistan partnered with a local media company to produce radio features and drama series to raise public awareness on the major causes of trafficking and on how to prevent it, including safe migration. The program also conducted awareness-raising training for high-risk communities and disseminated information and education materials on C-TIP reaching 20 million Afghans.
V. Build on the community networks and program experience of international, regional, and local and national NGOs and women’s organizations working in refugee camps and disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration programs to address trafficking.
In Guyana, a Department project has convened and supported a national networking group of civil society stakeholders to raise awareness of human trafficking. The network spoke about trafficking on a premiere television program in Guyana called Nightly News and has conducted several awareness activities benefitting Venezuelan nationals, including victims. Another Department project is working to improve the capacity of governments, civil society, and communities to protect and provide comprehensive services for trafficking survivors in Nigeria, particularly former child soldiers and women and girls whom combatants have forced to work and/or engage in commercial sex.
Since 2016, USAID has funded third generation Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration programs in Nigeria with deradicalization and rehabilitation programs, information and counseling, referral services, reinsertion kits, and assistance to trafficking victims. In Niger and Cameroon, USAID funds reintegration programs for trafficking survivors. In CAR, with funding from USAID, UNICEF advocates for releasing children from armed groups and coordinates with NGOs to ensure these children are reunited with their families and reintegrated into their communities. USAID projects in the DRC, South Sudan, and Columbia facilitate the rehabilitation and reintegration of children released from armed forces.
VI. Continue to foster the involvement of women and other vulnerable groups in all stages of post-conflict and disaster relief, humanitarian emergencies, and reconstruction, recognizing that each crisis or emergency situation is unique.
A Department project in Algeria holds monthly trainings in its voluntary return center to train trafficking survivors on coping mechanisms, vocational skills, and other tools for successful reintegration. Another project in Tunisia helped a survivor return from Saudi Arabia and worked with her to establish a cattle farming business in her hometown. The Department is committed to ensuring that in humanitarian programming, beneficiary feedback is collected and used to maximize the cost effectiveness and utility of humanitarian funding. Humanitarian projects funded by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration require partners to explain how the organization will draw upon beneficiary input for program design, implementation, monitoring the project’s progress, and designing course correction as needed.
USAID works with partners to ensure that women and other vulnerable groups have equitable, meaningful, and safe access to all disaster responses and disaster risk reduction programs. USAID requires that all humanitarian proposals include a gender and protection mainstreaming analysis so that women and vulnerable groups can inform implementation, monitoring and evaluation plans. USAID also requires that humanitarian partners promote beneficiaries’ active participation and feedback in assistance and programming. USAID implements these requirements by training partners and field staff to ensure context-specific integration across all funded sectors. USAID also assists with the development of innovative tools to assess, monitor, and collect feedback on women and girls’ access to humanitarian services. As examples, USAID funded CARE to identify how traditional humanitarian actors can learn from women’s organizations that are engaging in protection programming. In addition, USAID partners with the Women’s Refugee Commission to test a real-time monitoring tool to track adolescent girls’ access to services, address risks and barriers, and improve coordination with the humanitarian community.
VII. Conduct additional research to document human trafficking in post-conflict situations, humanitarian emergencies, and complex emergencies.
A Department project will conduct research on the modus operandi of criminal networks associated with human trafficking among Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Aruba, Curacao, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Dominican Republic.
In Rwanda, the Department is funding research on human trafficking in refugee camps and to assess the existing human trafficking response in the camps. Another Department project supports the investigation and prosecution of trafficking offences perpetrated by the Islamic State through the collection and preservation of evidence of enslavement, identification of those responsible, and related case-building for criminal justice initiatives. To date, the project has mapped and analyzed trafficking perpetrated by the Islamic State, including the routes employed to exploit Yezidi women and children for sex, domestic servitude, and armed activities.
In Libya, USAID is investing in research to better understand links between human trafficking and other forms of organized crime and the role of trafficking in funding conflict and violent extremism, i.e., militias and other destabilizing entities. In Colombia, USAID is carrying out a Community Based Trauma Healing (CBTH) study, focused on communities with a large influx of Venezuelan refugees and migrants who are vulnerable to human trafficking. The study will include a CBTH intervention for refugee, migrant, and host communities.