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This report is submitted in accordance with Section 204(a) of the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2018


Section 204(a) of the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2018 (the Act) calls on the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to submit a report to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives. The report should describe any practices adopted by the Department of State or USAID to better combat trafficking in persons, in accordance with the recommendations in the report submitted under section 101(b)(4) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005, to reduce the risk of trafficking in post-conflict or post-disaster areas. The Act requires the report to be submitted no later than 120 days after the date of enactment of the Act and annually thereafter for seven years. Each report shall be posted on a publicly available internet website of the Department.

The Department has taken the lead on this report, in consultation with USAID. The report reflects the collection of information and examples provided by different offices within the Department and USAID.


i. Recommendation: 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:

Department of State: The Department has supported individual action in select locations to supplement the existing humanitarian response efforts implemented through the Department and USAID. For example, a Department project strengthened the efforts of the Government of the Philippines to combat trafficking in persons among vulnerable populations affected by Typhoon Haiyan.  The project improved affected populations’ access to referral channels through targeted awareness-raising activities, strengthened the technical and operational capacity of key service providers to identify and assist trafficking victims, and enhanced direct assistance for Haiyan-affected trafficking victims through the operation of the Trafficking Emergency Support Fund. The implementer interviewed key informants and stakeholders and mapped trafficking patterns, needs, and referral processes. In Iraq, a Department implementer provided basic assistance and/or referrals to 82 individuals who were either trafficking victims or vulnerable to human trafficking. All victims received basic psycho-social support. Additionally, the implementer continues to operate two protection hotlines that receive calls in Erbil and transfer them to caseworkers in locations inside and outside of camps across Iraq.

USAID: USAID’s Counter-Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) Policy directs and unifies 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. To effectively implement this objective, USAID keeps a close eye on these environments, which are fertile ground for trafficking to take root and thrive. In the last several years, USAID has seen increases in trafficking in emergencies, such as the trafficking of women and girls in Iraq and Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh, and the enslavement of men, women, and children in Libya. Across humanitarian contexts, USAID partners establish women’s and girls’ support centers that assist vulnerable women and girls in identifying opportunities to reduce risks they may face and provide medical and psychosocial services to survivors. USAID supported the rehabilitation and reintegration of children released from armed forces and groups in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan and are currently supporting this work in Colombia.

To address the specific needs and heightened vulnerabilities of children, particularly adolescents, in need of reintegration assistance, USAID supported IRC to pilot the Supporting Adolescents and Their Families in Emergencies (SAFE) resource package in Central African Republic. Learning from the pilot will be used to tailor for adolescent girls and boys a resource package utilized by humanitarian protection actors to provide family- and community-based psychosocial support and nurture life skills to increase children’s safety, health, and empowerment.

On a policy level, the Department, together with USAID, advocates with the Global Protection Cluster (GPC), led by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), for enhanced protection at the field level in every humanitarian emergency, including for protection against human trafficking and assistance for trafficking survivors.  From 2008-2012 the Department supported an International Organization for Migration (IOM)-UNHCR effort to develop and launch a joint framework on the protection of trafficking survivors.  In 2018 the GPC established an Anti-Trafficking Task Team that conducted an assessment of how trafficking is being addressed in 29 different humanitarian responses. The report, launched in August 2018, identified gaps, challenges, and opportunities, and formed the basis for the Task Team’s plan of work. The Department and USAID have each provided follow-on funding to the Task Team co-leads to implement this plan of work. This effort to promote anti-trafficking awareness in emergencies through the GPC has led to the inclusion of trafficking prevention and response efforts in humanitarian response plans for populations affected by conflict and emergencies in Venezuela, Syria, and Burma. The effort also helps ensure funding from other donors to these humanitarian emergencies also addresses the protection needs associated with human trafficking. For example, the U.S. Government’s contributions to UNHCR, UNICEF, and IOM support their coordination to address human trafficking and gender-based violence (GBV), as well as their overall protection work. UNHCR leads the Global Protection Cluster and incorporates protection into all aspects of its work. IOM serves as the Task Team co-lead on anti-trafficking, and conducts extensive programming in this area, including training for law enforcement agencies and humanitarian actors, messaging, and assistance. UNICEF co-leads the child protection sub-cluster, implements programs to protect children and prevent and respond to GBV, and actively includes in its work a focus on unaccompanied and separated minors identified as at risk of trafficking, early marriage, and sexual exploitation. All partners are part of the Global Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence and have committed to incorporating GBV prevention and response across all programming areas.

ii. Recommendation: 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:

As noted above, through advocacy and funding the Department and USAID are working with the GPC to ensure humanitarian actors are sensitive to and trained on human trafficking issues. In support of this, a global Department project is improving the effectiveness of responses to human trafficking in emergency contexts by building first responder capacity and developing and strengthening tools for multiple audiences 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.

More broadly, the USG has one of the most comprehensive sets of protection, gender, PSEA, and inclusion requirements for humanitarian partner organizations. This has resulted in our partners designing assistance activities in ways that reduce risks, as well as addresses the effects of harm, exploitation, and abuse, including trafficking. The USG has a long history of investing in emergency response activities to assist women and children, to reduce protection risks they face in displacement, including TIP, and to respond to the needs of survivors.

Department of State: A Department implementer developed a regional training guide to integrate anti-trafficking approaches, build first-responder capacity, and develop model Standard Operating Procedures for governments in the Levant Region to address anti-trafficking responses in times of conflict and crisis. Another project in Ukraine enhanced capacity for trafficking prevention, screening, and services for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) through trainings for service providers. Across Iraq, an implementer has coordinated efforts with relevant clusters, sub-clusters, and service networks to facilitate work, including holding awareness sessions and trainings for humanitarian workers inside and outside of IDP camps, focus groups for IDPs within camps, and trainings for human rights defenders on how to apply a victim-centered approach to identify and protect victims of trafficking in crises.

USAID: USAID continues to require that all Agency employees, including officers responsible for the design and management of humanitarian assistance programming, complete human trafficking training. Per USAID’s C-TIP Policy, the Agency places a high priority on integrating counter-trafficking activities into development programming across all sectors, including emergency aid. USAID is also working with humanitarian partners to ensure that field staff can effectively use emerging protection from sexual exploitation (PSEA) guidance, recognizing that local contexts play a fundamentally important role in the success of PSEA efforts. A USAID partner is providing tailored support to organizations in three strategically selected countries as they institute PSEA policies and systems, as well as address cultural barriers through participatory workshops. From these experiences, the partner will generate a practical model for supporting local organizations worldwide to combat harm, exploitation, and abuse, including trafficking.

iii. Recommendation: Consider including in protection programs interventions that address underlying economic vulnerabilities and create child-friendly spaces that may reduce the risk of trafficking:

The U.S. Government supports 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 support community and national systems to address children’s needs. The U.S. Government support of livelihoods programs for forcibly displaced people promotes social and economic integration and strengthens self-reliance, minimizing economic vulnerabilities that may increase the risk of trafficking. In addition, to supplement USAID programming in response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, a Department implementer enhanced direct assistance for Haiyan-affected trafficking victims through operation of the Trafficking Emergency Support Fund and disbursed financial support to those eligible.

USAID: In eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), USAID provides support and reintegration services to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and human trafficking, including vulnerable children, through the provision of medical and psychosocial support, victim referral, family reunification, and legal assistance. In Afghanistan, a USAID funded project targets highly vulnerable and marginalized Afghan youth to promote community engagement, networking, and capacity building for the prevention of violence and trafficking in persons, which remains a pervasive issue in Afghanistan, particularly among vulnerable and marginalized youth. In Nigeria, USAID supports programs that build GBV prevention, referral, and case management capacity among staff at local health facilities. Implementing partners train vulnerable women and girls in income-generating activities and enroll women in village savings and loan associations to enhance their personal control of financial resources, thereby reducing vulnerability to sexual exploitation.

iv. Recommendation: Raise awareness through public information campaigns post-conflict and after natural disasters about the threat of trafficking to populations most at risk:

Department of State: In Guyana, an ongoing Department-funded capacity building and assistance project for the government has addressed the Venezuelan refugee and migration crisis by distributing awareness-raising materials in Spanish that detail trafficking risks and local resources for any vulnerable migrants or trafficking victims. An implementer in Rwanda is increasing awareness, identification, and referral of trafficking victims among six refugee camps and their surrounding communities. In response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, a Department implementer helped develop and test prevention and protection messages and a dissemination strategy, and then translated the information into local languages to support awareness-raising campaigns. In Iraq, an implementer is providing continuous awareness and information sessions to at-risk populations in the Dohuk, Erbil, Ninewa, Kirkuk, Thi Qar, Diyala, Basra, and Baghdad regions.

USAID: USAID’s Protecting the Human Rights of Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh project brought together community members, evenly split between Rohyingya and Bangladeshis, and nearly half women, to produce a radio drama to educate and encourage discussion about issues of critical importance to the community, including trafficking in persons.

v. Recommendation: 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:

As noted above, through advocacy and funding, the Department and USAID work with the GPC to ensure humanitarian actors, including local partners, are sensitive to and trained on human trafficking issues.

Department of State: A Department implementer is working to improve the capacity of governments, civil society, and communities to protect and provide comprehensive services for trafficking survivors in Northeast Nigeria, including former child soldiers and women and girls subjected by combatants to forced labor and sexual exploitation, in particular. The project builds the capacity of existing local-partner institutions by providing services to trafficking survivors.

USAID: USAID supports the Government of Colombia to foster inclusive reintegration for ex-combatants and disengaged children and to prevent further recruitment. Results include: the reception of 124 children under 18 years of age in temporary transitional centers, and assistance to them in preparation for their reincorporation and social inclusion into their families and communities. In FY 2017, 201 children and adolescents disengaged from illegal armed groups in Colombia and benefitted from USAID services. USAID supports activities in South Sudan called “Viable Support to Transition and Stability (VISTAS)” to help respond to a marked increase in violations of children’s rights. Activities include responding to grave violations such as killing and maiming, arbitrary arrest, and detention, accompanied by the risk of recruitment into armed groups and trafficking.

In CAR, USAID supports UNICEF at the country level to advocate for the release of children from armed groups and coordinates with NGOs to ensure children formerly associated with armed groups are reunited with their families and reintegrated into their communities upon release. At the community level, USAID supports an NGO partner to provide children formerly associated with armed groups with vital reintegration assistance.

vi. Recommendation: 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:

The empowerment and protection of women and girls has been a central part of U.S. foreign policy and national security, as shown by President Trump’s signing of the first-ever comprehensive legislation on Women, Peace, and Security in 2017. This whole-of-government effort is bolstered by other relevant strategies, including the U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally, the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls. The Department and USAID have jointly been working with the Global Protection Cluster (GPC) for several years to ensure the mainstreaming of human trafficking concerns and vulnerabilities into humanitarian protection activities across the board. The two offices have jointly funded the work of the GPC Task Team on Trafficking in Emergencies through awards to the NGO Heartland Alliance and IOM.

Department of State: A Department-funded partner is working to address the unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers by actively engaging children, families, communities, and the Government of South Sudan to help facilitate the safe and effective return of children associated with armed groups. This project is also reducing the risk of recruitment and re-recruitment by improving the resilience of communities and addressing harmful social and cultural norms, pressures, and behaviors.

USAID: USAID/Afghanistan, in partnership with IOM, raises awareness of human trafficking by preparing Afghan government institutions to participate in the prevention of trafficking, prosecution of traffickers, protection of victims, and to improve regional coordination to combat cross-border trafficking. After the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, USAID expanded its counter-trafficking in persons program to offer services to migrants in earthquake-affected communities. The project strengthened 250 Safe Migration Networks to be effective advocates and resource persons on trafficking, gender-based violence, and safe labor migration, and established 17 Village Committees to Combat Human Trafficking. USAID consistently expands its counter-trafficking systems in response to natural disasters. USAID supported CARE to gain a deeper understanding of different protection risks facing women in different types of crises globally and to identify best practices on localized approaches to protection programming, with the aim of better understanding of protection risks, including trafficking.

vii. Recommendation: Conduct additional research to document human trafficking in post-conflict situations, humanitarian emergencies, and complex emergencies:

Department of State: The Department is investing in researching vulnerability to human trafficking among migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons in Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, North Macedonia, and Serbia. The organization has identified key vulnerabilities to trafficking along migration routes and made policy and programming recommendations to affected governments.

USAID: In the DRC, USAID supported a human-trafficking assessment in mineral mining communities. In Rwanda, USAID is conducting research to examine human-trafficking patterns nationally and across borders and to identify capacities for preventing and responding to trafficking risks. 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 fueling conflict and violent extremism.

U.S. Department of State

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