The United States has made the global fight against human trafficking a policy priority and employs a whole-of-government approach to stop human traffickers, protect victims, and prevent this crime.
Combating human trafficking requires a comprehensive, multidisciplinary effort. Within government, this means the participation and coordination among agencies with a range of responsibilities, including criminal enforcement, labor enforcement, victim outreach and services, public awareness, education, trade policy and promotion, international development and programs, customs and immigration, intelligence, and diplomacy. Coordinated federal efforts that incorporate state, local, and tribal entities; the private sector; civil society; survivors; religious communities; and academia are essential to an integrated response to human trafficking that leverages resources and amplifies results.
- The President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
- Senior Policy Operating Group
- U.S. Government Human Trafficking Reports & Strategies
- Presidential Award for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons
- Congressionally Mandated Advisory Councils & Committees
The President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (PITF) is a cabinet-level entity created by the (Pub. L. No. 106-386), which consists of 20 agencies across the federal government responsible for coordinating U.S. government-wide efforts to combat trafficking in persons. The Secretary of State chairs the PITF.
PITF agencies regularly convene to advance and coordinate federal policies and collaborate with a range of stakeholders. Focus areas include: the enforcement of criminal and labor laws to end impunity for traffickers; victim-centered identification and trauma-informed assistance; innovations in data gathering and research; education and public awareness activities; and synchronization of strategically linked foreign assistance and diplomatic engagement.
Agencies of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
The TVPA, as amended in 2003, established the Senior Policy Operating Group (SPOG), which consists of senior officials designated as representatives of the PITF agencies. The SPOG brings together federal agencies that address all aspects of human trafficking. Five standing committees meet regularly to advance substantive areas of the SPOG’s work: Research & Data, Grantmaking, Public Awareness & Outreach, Victims Services, and Procurement & Supply Chains. Below are some examples of resources the committees have developed:
- The SPOG Procurement & Supply Chains Committee released a set of for federal contractors, subcontractors, and others to post at worksites to inform those employed on federal contracts of their rights under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) rule, “ .” The Committee also developed an accompanying set of for how to use the poster.
- The SPOG Public Awareness & Outreach Committee created a Guide for Public Awareness Materials (non-binding) to serve as a public resource that reflects the common messaging, standard statistics, and shared guidelines on images that SPOG agencies use when creating public awareness and training materials.
- The SPOG Research & Data Committee compiled a [113 KB] of all U.S. government-funded research over the last two decades.
In 2017, the SPOG also approved the establishment of an Ad Hoc Working Group on American Indians and Alaska Natives to increase coordination among agencies responding to human trafficking in Indian Country and affecting American Indian and Alaska Native communities. The Working Group created for policymakers and tribes a [709 KB], which outlines federal anti-trafficking efforts focused on American Indian and Alaska Native communities to bolster stakeholders’ understanding of the U.S. government’s response and enhance the coordination of agency programming and tribal engagement.
In response to a Sense of Congress provision in the (Pub. L. No. 115-425), the SPOG established an Ad Hoc Working Group in May 2020 to examine the role of demand reduction in preventing human trafficking.
The U.S. Government issues several congressional reports on human trafficking. These include:
The Trafficking in Persons Report is the U.S. Government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking. It is also the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-trafficking efforts and reflects the U.S. Government’s commitment to global leadership on this key human rights and law enforcement issue.
The Attorney General’s Annual Report to Congress on U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons describes the U.S. Government’s comprehensive campaign to combat human trafficking, including efforts to carry out the 3Ps strategy to (1) protect victims by providing benefits and services; (2) investigate and prosecute human trafficking crimes; and (3) prevent further trafficking-related crimes.
The Department of Labor maintains a list of goods and their source countries which it has reason to believe are produced by child labor or forced labor in violation of international standards, as required under the (Pub. L. No. 109-164) and subsequent reauthorizations. The List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor comprises 155 goods from 77 countries, as of September 30, 2020.
The Department of Labor maintains a list of products and their source countries which it has a reasonable basis to believe are produced by forced or indentured child labor, pursuant to . This List is intended to ensure that U.S. federal agencies do not procure goods made by forced or indentured child labor. Under procurement regulations, federal contractors who supply products on the List must certify that they have made a good faith effort to determine whether forced or indentured child labor was used to produce the items supplied.
The Department of Labor’s annual Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor focuses on the efforts of certain U.S. trade beneficiary countries and territories to eliminate the worst forms of child labor through legislation, enforcement mechanisms, policies, and social programs.
Additionally, agencies have created strategies or policies to further their efforts to combat human trafficking:
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, the Importation of Goods Produced with Forced Labor, and Child Sexual Exploitation articulates the Department’s long-term approach for combating these crimes and serves as a framework to prioritize resources and monitor progress.
The National Strategy sets forth plans to enhance coordination within the Department of Justice and to develop specific strategies within each federal district to stop human trafficking. See (Pub. L. No. 114-22), Sec. 606.
In 2012, USAID launched its Counter-Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) Policy to address the human rights issues raised by trafficking in persons. It is currently undergoing a revision to reflect a more integrated, coordinated and survivor-informed approach to countering trafficking across USAID.
The Departments of State (State) and the Treasury (Treasury), on behalf of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (PITF), conducted an analysis of anti-money laundering efforts of the U.S. government, U.S. financial institutions, and international financial institutions related to human trafficking and recommendations to strengthen the efforts of those institutions. The report incorporates input and feedback from PITF agencies and external stakeholders, including from representatives of financial institutions and civil-society organizations, trade representatives of the financial industry, members of the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, and consultants from the Human Trafficking Expert Consultant Network.
Due to ongoing concerns over human trafficking in the fishing industry, Congress directed the Department of Justice to convene a senior interagency working group to examine legal and jurisdictional issues related to human trafficking on fishing vessels in international waters and to make recommendations for executive and legislative action. The working group held multiple interagency meetings and consultations with external stakeholders, including industry representatives, worker advocacy organizations, anti-trafficking organizations, and survivors. Drawing on this expertise, this new report analyzes the legal and regulatory authority of the United States government to prevent and respond to human trafficking on U.S. and foreign flagged vessels fishing in international waters, and also analyzes gaps in this legal and regulatory framework. The report contains 27 high-level recommendations to Congress and to the executive branch to fill the gaps identified in the report.
The (Pub. L. No. 110-457), Section 109 authorizes the President to establish the Presidential Award for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons to recognize the extraordinary anti-trafficking efforts of individuals and organizations nominated by agencies of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
Tanya Gould for her unyielding commitment and contributions to the fight against human trafficking and bringing greater awareness of the issue to her community and the nation.
for its extraordinary efforts to combat human trafficking in North Carolina, including through the Freedom Center transitional model that provides essential aftercare services to survivors, and for its efforts to reduce vulnerability to human trafficking through community outreach.
Kendis Paris for her trailblazing leadership of and her sustained efforts to transform the nation’s transportation sector by catalyzing professionals in the trucking and bussing industries to combat human trafficking.
for its innovative work and leadership with the global business community to push an industry-wide change to enhance worker protections, transform the market for ethical recruitment practices, and promote strong management systems to prevent human trafficking and trafficking risks in global supply chains.
Minal Patel Davis for her innovative efforts and unparalleled leadership in crafting and pioneering the ’s comprehensive and collaborative approach to combating human trafficking, which represents a model for municipalities across the nation and around the world.
William Woolf III for his sustained dedication and achievements in combating human trafficking by employing a victim-centered approach to transform law enforcement efforts, and equipping communities and front-line responders to more effectively address and prevent human trafficking.
for sustained leadership and efforts to inform, inspire, and empower the next generation by raising awareness and building a network of students across the United States and around the world dedicated to ending modern slavery.
Dr. Christopher White and the for unparalleled leadership and dedication in developing new and powerful technologies to enhance the capacity of U.S. law enforcement, military, and intelligence entities to dismantle human trafficking enterprises and bring traffickers to justice.
The for extraordinary efforts to provide comprehensive services to survivors of modern slavery, its bold leadership on behalf of and in partnership with survivors to advocate for robust anti-trafficking policies and laws, and its unwavering mission to empower survivors by building a community network and helping leaders thrive.
for its demonstrated commitment and corporate leadership in combating modern slavery through the adoption and promotion of business practices that seek to protect victims of human trafficking, and the development of proactive measures to train employees and encourage its partners and the broader business community to take a stand against human trafficking.
Florrie Reed Burke for her sustained dedication and unparalleled leadership in combating modern slavery through the development and delivery of comprehensive services, the empowerment of survivors to move from slavery to independence, and the transformation of policy to eradicate all forms of human trafficking.
The U.S. Government engages with and supports several congressionally mandated advisory councils and committees comprised of nongovernmental stakeholders, including:
The United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, established by the of 2015 (Pub. L. No. 114-22), provides a formal platform for trafficking survivors to advise and make recommendations on federal anti-trafficking policies to the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (PITF). Each member is a survivor of human trafficking, and together they represent a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences. The Council is appointed by the President for two-year terms.
- Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council to End Human Trafficking
The (Pub. L. No. 115-393), established the Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council to End Human Trafficking. This Council provides a formal platform for NGOs, academia, and nonprofit groups to advise and make recommendations on federal anti-trafficking policies and programs, including programs relating to the provision of victim services, to the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. The Council sunset on September 30, 2020.
The National Advisory Committee on the Sex Trafficking of Children & Youth in the United States advises the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on the nation’s response to trafficking. The Committee was created in consultation with the Department of Justice and the National Governor’s Association per the (Pub. L. No. 113-183).
The (Pub. L. No. 115-99) required the establishment of the Department of Transportation Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking to make recommendations on actions the Department can take to help combat human trafficking, and to develop recommended best practices for states and state and local transportation stakeholders in combating human trafficking.
The (Pub. L. No. 114-125) established the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee to advise the Departments of the Treasury and Homeland Security on the commercial operations of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and related functions of the departments. This Committee has a Forced Labor Working Group, comprised of trade members and civil society organizations, to act as a standing forum of subject matter experts that can be called together by CBP when forced labor issues arise to solicit feedback and advice from the trade community.