Section 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.
In 2020, the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) continued efforts to incorporate human trafficking into protection work, including targeted initiatives to respond to COVID-19-related challenges and ongoing efforts to strengthen tools and systems for the humanitarian community. The Department hosted listening sessions for grantees to better understand the impacts of the pandemic and created the 2020 TIP Office Annual Program Statement to Address the Impacts of COVID-19 in response to the immediate impacts of the pandemic on government and civil society efforts to combat human trafficking. The first effort funded via this mechanism aims to prevent children’s return to workplaces where trafficking occurs, facilitate victim-centered repatriation, and ensure access to government services for child trafficking victims in India. The Department also continues to fund the development and implementation of national referral mechanisms in several countries in the Western Hemisphere to better identify and safely report human trafficking in the context of Venezuelan refugee and migration flows. Another project in the Central African Republic (CAR) provides technical assistance for the development of trafficking victim identification and referral tools and procedures.
Both the Department and USAID support the Advancing Protection and Care for Children in Adversity: A U.S. Government Strategy for International Assistance (2019-2023), which builds on three evidence-based objectives to inform the U.S. government’s policies and programs to benefit the world’s most vulnerable children. These marginalized children include victims of human trafficking and children affected by, or emerging from, armed conflict or humanitarian crises.
The Department and USAID also fund Global Protection Cluster (GPC) Anti-Trafficking Task Team work, which has resulted in: a guide for humanitarians to recognize and respond to trafficking and to support survivors through humanitarian protection systems in emergency contexts, shared via a jointly hosted public event; guidance for humanitarian agencies on mitigating risk of, and responding to, trafficking amidst COVID-19, in collaboration with the GPC and global gender-based violence (GBV) and child protection coordination mechanisms; training for humanitarian responders in Myanmar, Niger, South Sudan, and Ukraine to identify and mitigate trafficking risks; and the establishment of the Nigerian Anti-Trafficking Task Team.
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.
USAID requires all agency employees to complete human trafficking training. It recently released a new Partner Toolkit on Child Safeguarding. The Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) also requires all staff to complete protection training. The Department is also committed to enhancing Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse safeguards in its 2020-2023 Plan to Implement the U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security.
The Department and USAID dedicated supplemental COVID-19 funds to humanitarian partners to maintain life-saving services for children in humanitarian settings, particularly those lacking access to school and other protective environments, thereby mitigating trafficking vulnerability and other devastating outcomes. Additionally, the Department supported UNHCR’s work with the Child Protection Area of Responsibility (AoR) by developing key messages aimed at government decision-makers and Child Protection AoR counterparts on risks to children from COVID-19; funding the deployment of human trafficking expert advisors to integrate anti-trafficking measures into humanitarian responses in Chad, CAR, Colombia, Ecuador, and Trinidad and Tobago; and funding work to reduce the prevalence of domestic servitude among women and girls in Ethiopia and in the migration corridor to the Middle East.
A global Department project continues to work to improve the responses to human trafficking in emergency contexts by developing and strengthening tools for responders and others. The implementer developed a downloadable training course and an information guide on human trafficking in emergencies, encouraging early and effective integration of human trafficking considerations into response and recovery efforts.
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 partners to integrate child protection and education programming into humanitarian responses, helping to reduce trafficking risks by enhancing access to child protection case management, psychosocial support, and short- and long-term care arrangements. For example, in Syria and Iraq, the Department supports UNHCR to invest in timely identification and referral of children at risk, specialized case management services, and enhanced child protection expertise for local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and government officials. In Lebanon and Iraq, the Department supports a project to train Syrian refugees, internally displaced Iraqis, and host community women and youth in business development and provide seed grants for self-employment.
Department-funded livelihoods programs for forcibly displaced people promote social and economic integration, strengthen self-reliance, and minimize economic vulnerabilities that may increase trafficking risks. Pursuant to amendments made to the 2018 TVPRA (P.L. 115-425), USAID now incorporates Counter-Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) approaches into many of its country strategies. These C-TIP approaches include human trafficking risk reduction and addressing the root causes of insecurity that leave children and youth vulnerable to trafficking. Near Burma’s border with China, for example, USAID provides a curriculum for adolescent girls at risk for trafficking to build life skills and identify safety risks in their community. In Libya, USAID partners work closely with migrant communities and internally displaced persons to conduct outreach to women and girls to link them to critical protection services and develop community-based mitigation strategies. In South Sudan and Somalia, USAID funds Child-Friendly Spaces, where children and their families can receive case management and build life skills. In Nigeria, USAID empowers women and girls with income-generating activities and enrolls women in village savings and loan associations to enhance their control over financial resources.
IV. Raise awareness through public information campaigns post-conflict and after natural disasters about the threat of trafficking to populations most at risk.
In Bangladesh, the Department supports an anti-trafficking awareness campaign among Rohingya refugees and the Bangladeshi host community describing real-life trafficking cases, illustrating the dangers and methods used by traffickers. In Guatemala, another Department project provides training and certification to new voluntary community facilitators and residents on identifying human trafficking and providing services to victims.
In Azerbaijan, USAID supported public and social media awareness raising events. In Haiti, another USAID project strengthens key local entities, in their efforts to increase public awareness of human trafficking. USAID also supports a project in Belarus to produce and disseminate information materials to assist vulnerable Belarusian migrants abroad and migrants from other countries unable to leave Belarus during the pandemic.
V. Build on the community networks and program experience of international, regional, national, and local NGOs and women’s organizations working in refugee camps and disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration programs to address trafficking.
In Northeast Nigeria, a Department project is working to improve government, civil society, and community capacity to protect and provide comprehensive services for trafficking survivors, including former child soldiers and women and girls exploited by combatants for forced labor and/or sex trafficking. In Zimbabwe, a Department project seeks to improve coordination of anti-trafficking stakeholders and strengthen protection efforts for trafficking victims, especially with needs related to COVID-19.
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.
The Department and USAID require all humanitarian partners to design and implement gender and protection analyses tailored to the context and intervention, including specific requirements to address the needs of persons with disabilities in programming, undertake GBV mitigation strategies, and ensure feedback mechanisms are in place.
The Department and USAID also support the development of innovative tools to assess, monitor, and collect feedback on women and girls’ access to humanitarian services and priority needs. A USAID project is working with local communities in Afghanistan and Colombia to develop community-based protection and violence prevention strategies. Another USAID project is developing a protection analysis framework to better conduct and apply protection analysis in humanitarian crises. The Department is funding a project to transform women and girls’ leadership in humanitarian action to address the barriers that survivors of GBV, sexual harassment, and sexual exploitation and abuse face in accessing services and support. Another Department project is researching ways to increase safety in the distribution of life-saving goods for women and girls by reducing sexual exploitation and abuse risks within the modalities used by humanitarian actors. The Department is also funding a project in six pilot countries aimed at making the humanitarian system a more enabling environment for women-led organizations to participate in consultation and decision-making and lead GBV prevention and response interventions.
VII. Conduct additional research to document human trafficking in post-conflict situations, humanitarian emergencies, and complex emergencies.
A Department project continues to research the modus operandi of criminal networks associated with human trafficking among Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Aruba, Brazil, Colombia, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago. In Ethiopia, the Department is funding research on the prevalence of domestic servitude of girls in Addis Ababa. Another Department project continues to support the investigation and prosecution of trafficking offenses perpetrated by the Islamic State through the collection and preservation of evidence of enslavement and exploitation, identification of those responsible, and related case building for criminal justice initiatives.
USAID is funding research on effective interventions to prevent and reduce human trafficking in Mali. In Bosnia, USAID assisted in creating a case management human trafficking database of cases administered by the government’s state coordinator. USAID also continued to fund global research to address the needs of children most at risk of exploitation and abuse, including human trafficking, in Burma, Iraq, Niger, and Sudan.