About the Council
About the President’s Interagency Task Force
Rule of Law
Survivor Engagement and Empowerment
Council Trips to Minnesota and Washington State
Addendum on Protocols and Procedures
Members of the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking are thankful to every survivor who has continued to work publicly and behind the scenes to ensure that survivors’ voices are included in every policy and program to combat human trafficking. In particular, we would like to thank the survivors who responded to our Survivor Voices Survey during the drafting of this report to represent the voices of survivors around the country. We would also like to thank the nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), community members, faith-based organizations, U.S. government agencies, philanthropists, and individuals who have played a significant role in the life of every survivor of human trafficking in the United States and around the world.
We are thankful to the U.S. government agencies that dedicated time to meet with the Council in preparation of this report. This includes the Department of State (DOS), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Labor (DOL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Education (ED), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). These agencies provided answers to our questions and shared materials for our review—helping us move closer to achieving agency implementation of the recommendations in our United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking Annual Report 2016.
We also would like to thank the regional federal offices and local government agencies, survivors, law enforcement officials, prosecutors, NGOs, and tribal communities in Minnesota and Washington State for meeting with us, as well as the Metropolitan State University for providing space to host our town hall meeting in Minnesota.
We are most grateful to the Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and ICF staff, for spending countless hours to support the Council.
Finally, we would like to thank President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump, Members of Congress, and the White House staff for providing an honorable platform for survivors of human trafficking to contribute their expertise in the United States.
ABOUT THE COUNCIL
The U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking is comprised of eleven survivor leaders who bring their expertise and experience to advise and provide recommendations to the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (PITF) to improve federal anti-trafficking policies.
The Council was established on May 29, 2015 by section 115 of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA), Pub. L. 114-22, also known as the Survivors of Human Trafficking Empowerment Act, and in December 2015 then President Barack Obama appointed the eleven members of the Council, to:
- Provide advice and recommendations to the U.S. government, specifically the Senior Policy Operating Group (SPOG) and the PITF, to strengthen federal policy and programming efforts that reflect best practices in the anti-trafficking field.
- Review federal U.S. government policy and programs intended to combat human trafficking, including programs relating to the provision of services for victims.
- Gather information from U.S. government agencies, states, and the community for the Council’s annual report.
- Publish an annual report that contains the findings derived from reviews conducted of federal government policy and programs.
- Serve as a point of contact for federal agencies reaching out to human trafficking survivors for input on anti-trafficking programming and policies in the United States.
- Represent the diverse population of human trafficking survivors across the United States.
The Council brings expertise from members’ personal experiences of human trafficking as well as members’ ongoing work and leadership in various national, state, and local anti-trafficking efforts. The Council has organized itself into five committees to conduct its work: Rule of Law, Public Awareness, Victim Services, Labor Laws, and Grantmaking.
Additionally, in drafting this report, the Council sought input from survivors across the nation through a Survivor Voices Survey to incorporate additional perspectives on what is needed in the anti-trafficking movement.
More information about the Council is available in the Addendum.
Note to the White House: The U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking appreciates the efforts of the White House to combat human trafficking. We are grateful to Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump, and for her willingness to work with the Council and fellow survivors to eliminate human trafficking in the United States. We seek the support of the White House to continue to engage the voices of survivors and to compensate survivors for their time and expenses. We encourage the White House to support a provision included in H.R. 2200, the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2017, which will amend the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 to remove the prohibition on Council members receiving compensation, to require they be reimbursed for travel expenses, and to extend the existence of the Council.
U.S. ADVISORY COUNCIL ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Council Co-Chair and Rule of Law Committee
Co-Founder Eyes Open International; Consultant for the International Organization for Migration; and Member of the Global Sustainability Network
Council Co-Chair and Grantmaking Committee
Survivor Leadership Activist
Bukola Love Oriola
Council Secretary and Report Editor
Founder, The Enitan Story and CEO, Bukola Oriola Group, LLC
Public Awareness Committee
Survivor Activist Project Assistant, Baker McKenzie LLP Advisor, Human Trafficking Legal Center Board of Directors, Free the Slaves
Protocols & Procedures Committee
PhD student, University of Nottingham and Executive Director, Survivor Alliance
Protocols & Procedures and Rule of Law Committees
Executive Director, Courtney’s House
Ima Matul Maisaroh
Grantmaking and Public Awareness Committees
Survivor Coordinator, Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST)
Labor Laws Committee
Independent Anti-Human Trafficking Consultant and CPA
Victims Services Committee
Founding member of the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST) Survivor Leadership Program
Victim Services Committee
Behavioral Health Specialist and Senior Program Manager IRC, Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network
Labor Laws Committee
Founding Director, Mentari Human Trafficking Survivor Empowerment Program Inc., and Member of The Reference Group of the Alliance 8.7 Knowledge Platform
ABOUT THE PRESIDENT’S INTERAGENCY TASK FORCE
The President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons was authorized by section 105(a) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, Pub. L. 106-386, and established by section 1(a) of Executive Order 13257 (Feb. 13, 2002). The agencies of the PITF are:
Department of State (DOS)
Department of the Treasury (Treasury)
Department of Defense (DOD)
Department of Justice (DOJ)
Department of Interior (DOI)
Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Department of Labor (DOL)
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Department of Transportation (DOT)
Department of Education (ED)
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Domestic Policy Council (DPC)
National Security Council (NSC)
Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR)
Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Human trafficking is a crime that tears the fabric of our society. It is a violation of basic human rights. It is a social justice issue and exacts a significant social and economic toll on survivors and the community. Many have lost their lives; others struggle daily as they cope with the trauma of this heinous crime.
It is commendable to see the United States taking the lead among nations around the world, and continuing to place survivors in key positions, including as members of the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. Survivors play uniquely important roles in combating human trafficking effectively in the U.S. and around the world. As subject matter experts, they provide essential tools that investigators, prosecutors, and communities need to combat and prevent human trafficking.
It was encouraging to hear Ivanka Trump recognize the enormous value survivors of human trafficking bring to combat this crime when, at the release of the U.S. Department of State’s 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report, she stated: “here in the United States, we have our own Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, comprised exclusively of survivors. We cannot meaningfully address this pervasive issue without the brave voice of survivors at the table. They can help us understand what they experienced and they will play a leading role in solving this pressing crisis.”
This report acknowledges federal agencies’ efforts to implement recommendations provided in the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking Annual Report 2016, and includes key takeaways from the Council’s two regional trips, and the work and structure the Council developed in the past year. It is our hope that federal agencies, state governments, NGOs, faith-based organizations, community members, corporate bodies, and philanthropists will continue to collaborate with survivors regardless of their gender, age, race, or sexual orientation to combat and prevent human trafficking.
The U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking has worked tirelessly since the October 2016 release of our first report to further engage with federal agencies. The Council is particularly impressed that shortly after the release of its report, several agencies met with us to begin implementation. Over this year, we have also seen increased federal engagement with survivors in implementing these recommendations, as well as compensating other survivors for their time, expertise, and expenses. In addition to focusing on documenting the implementation efforts of the Council’s recommendations in its 2016 report, this year’s report includes calls to action, as well as a special note on survivor engagement and empowerment.
“It’s ideal for the response team to include advocates, including survivors, who are educated on both sex and labor trafficking (and other forms of violence like domestic violence) as well as victim-centered and trauma-informed approaches.”
– Holly Gibbs, CA
WHAT IS HUMAN TRAFFICKING?
When an adult engages in a commercial sex act, such as prostitution, as the result of force, threats of force, fraud, coercion or any combination of such means, that person is a victim of trafficking. Under such circumstances, perpetrators involved in recruiting, harboring, enticing, transporting, providing, obtaining, advertising, maintaining, patronizing, or soliciting a person for that purpose are guilty of federal sex trafficking of an adult. This is true even if the victim previously consented to engage in such activities.
- Child Sex Trafficking: When a minor (defined under federal law as a person under 18 years) is recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, advertised, maintained, patronized, or solicited to engage in a commercial sex act, proving force, fraud, or coercion is not required. The use of children in the commercial sex trade is prohibited both under U.S. law and by legislation in most countries around the world.
Labor trafficking encompasses the range of activities – recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining – involved when a person uses force or physical threats; psychological coercion; abuse of the legal process; a scheme, plan, or pattern intended to hold a person in fear of serious harm; or other coercive means to compel someone to work. Once a person’s labor is obtained by such means, the person’s previous consent or effort to obtain employment with the trafficker does not preclude the person from being considered a victim, or the government from prosecuting the offender.
- Bonded Labor or Debt Bondage: U.S. law prohibits the use of a bond or debt as a form of coercion used to compel a person’s labor. Some workers inherit debt, while others fall victim to traffickers or recruiters who unlawfully exploit an initial debt assumed as a condition of employment.
- Debt Bondage among Migrant Laborers: Although contract violations and hazardous working conditions for migrant laborers do not necessarily constitute human trafficking, the burden of costs and debts on these laborers can contribute to a situation of debt bondage. Employment-based temporary work programs when the workers’ legal status in the country is tied to the employer make it more difficult for workers to speak up and seek redress.
- Domestic Servitude: In the case of domestic servitude, the circumstances of providing services in a residence create unique vulnerabilities. Domestic workplaces are often informal, connected to off-duty living quarters, and not shared with other workers. Such an environment, which often isolates domestic workers, is conducive to exploitation because authorities cannot inspect private homes as easily as formal workplaces.
- Forced Child Labor: Although children may legally engage in certain forms of work, forms of slavery or slave-like practices – including the sale of children, forced or compulsory child labor, and debt bondage and serfdom of children – continue to exist as manifestations of human trafficking, despite legal prohibitions and widespread condemnation. U.S. law prohibits the importation of goods produced by forced labor, including forced child labor.
Unlawful Recruitment or Use of Child Soldiers
Child soldiering can be a manifestation of human trafficking when it involves the unlawful recruitment or use of children – through force, fraud, or coercion – by armed forces as combatants or to carry out support roles such as cooks, porters, messengers, medics, or guards. Perpetrators may be government forces, paramilitary organizations, or rebel groups. In addition to being recruited or used for combat or labor, some child soldiers are sexually exploited by armed groups.
RULE OF LAW
Consistency, continuity, and improvement of human trafficking training by law enforcement agencies engaging, educating, and empowering officials with survivor input, feedback, and recommendations will help end modern slavery. Focusing on training the trainer, engaging survivors, and understanding all forms of human trafficking are crucial steps for law enforcement and federal agencies to move ahead in protecting victims and preventing human trafficking.
In our first report, this Committee recommended:
- DOJ, DHS, DOL, DOI, and DOD improve training on all forms of human trafficking.
- DOJ, DHS, DOL, DOI, and DOD engage survivors as trainers for law enforcement investigators.
- Club Owners Against Sex Trafficking (COAST) program work with the Council to improve training.
In 2017, we focused on implementing aspects of each of our recommendations and prioritized working with DOD, DHS, DOJ, and members of COAST.
We would like to thank DOD, DHS, DOJ, and members of COAST for taking time to not only meet with us, but seek our input and ongoing support.
This year, we met with DOD to discuss its training materials. DOD plans to collaborate with the Council in the future to update its Investigative Professionals Training.
DHS’ Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) discussed its plans to develop long-range strategies to train federal, state, and local law enforcement about human trafficking with the Council. This may include a proposed train-the-trainer program on basic human trafficking awareness, as well as plans to consult with the DHS Blue Campaign as DHS addresses the needs for human trafficking awareness courses for specific industry professionals, such as those in the hospitality and banking industries. The Council and DHS Blue Campaign plan to collaborate on the future development of these advanced law enforcement trainings.
We also met with DOJ’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit (HTPU) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). The Council provided input for the development of HTPU’s training videos for engaging survivors during investigations as well as content for future training material. HTPU agreed with many of our suggestions and plans to include survivor experts in training videos, which will focus on survivor-informed investigations and prosecutions. Council members collaborate on training, including investigative training, with local FBI field offices and requested to review FBI headquarters training materials. The Council was informed that as a matter of policy, the FBI does not turn over training material for review. FBI headquarters plans to connect with the Council in the future to discuss suggestions and tips regarding its human trafficking training.
The Council met with members of COAST and DHS’ Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to discuss outreach, training, and survivor participation in their efforts. The Council provided edits to HSI’s training material used by COAST and HSI is incorporating those edits. We hope to work with HSI and COAST in the future to develop club-specific training material.
Call to Action
The passion and purpose of the Council is to collaborate with law enforcement officials and federal agencies to engage survivors of human trafficking to end modern slavery. Listening, learning, and looking to human trafficking survivors will give hope, courage, and freedom to victims and strengthen agency efforts.
We suggest that these efforts not only happen at a national level, but a regional and local level as well. We recommend federal agencies encourage state task forces and other multidisciplinary teams to engage with local survivors and increase collaboration among local law enforcement partners with survivors to develop and deliver training for criminal justice professionals.
The Council’s Public Awareness Committee focuses on human trafficking public awareness and outreach materials.
In our first report, this Committee recommended:
- All PITF agencies include a more diverse representation of survivors and represent all forms of trafficking in public awareness and outreach efforts.
- The SPOG Public Awareness and Outreach Committee agencies collaborate with survivors of human trafficking to increase efforts on prevention and identification.
- All PITF agencies’ public awareness and outreach be trauma-informed.
In 2017, this Committee decided to focus on its first and second recommendations and prioritized working with DOT and ED.
This year, we met with representatives from ED and DOT to review their public awareness materials. This included ED’s Human Trafficking in America’s School Guide (released in 2015), and the Human Trafficking Framework for Instructional Programing in Schools (released in 2017), as well as DOT’s public awareness posters, and a PowerPoint training for transportation stakeholders. ED partners with schools and DOT partners with other organizations to develop their public awareness materials. We provided recommendations to both agencies to improve the development of their materials and are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with ED and DOT. We encouraged both agencies to ensure images for awareness materials reflect all forms of trafficking and represent various backgrounds and nationalities of both victims and traffickers. We also suggested DOT increase awareness about labor trafficking.
ED and the Council agreed to set up a formal process for the Council to provide feedback on materials. This process includes quarterly calls between ED and the Council to discuss ED’s public awareness efforts, providing the Council an opportunity to share input. DOT has agreed to connect with the Council for possible participation if and when speaking requests are received at industry conferences or events. ED also recommended the Council connect with the DHS Blue Campaign to learn about its efforts to develop public awareness resources for schools and their stakeholders. When we met with the Blue Campaign, we were pleased to see they had created a toolkit for college and university students. We recommended that the toolkit be updated in the future to include as much information on labor trafficking as there is on sex trafficking.
Call to Action
When it comes to the development of public awareness materials and training curricula of all PITF agencies, the voices of survivors are often missing, and materials may focus only on one type of trafficking or one type of survivor background. We recommend all PITF agencies collaborate and share public awareness resources and materials with each other to improve their outreach efforts and their progress in implementing the Council’s recommendations.
The Council’s Victim Services Committee focuses on ensuring services to trafficking survivors are comprehensive, meet the needs of all victims, and empower survivors. We also work with federal agencies to make sure programs are trauma- and survivor-informed.
In our first report, this Committee recommended:
- DOJ, HHS, DOS, USAID, and DOL provide comprehensive services for all survivors of human trafficking.
- Establishment of housing preferences for survivors of human trafficking at the federal and local levels.
- DOJ and HHS anti-trafficking grantees use standardized screening questions developed with survivors’ professional input.
In 2017, we focused on our second and third recommendations.
The Council met with DOJ’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), HUD, HHS’ Office on Trafficking in Persons (OTIP), and DOJ’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) regarding a new national housing initiative to support human trafficking survivors. The agencies requested input from the Council on different housing assistance programs, partnerships with affordable housing providers, and challenges survivors experience in obtaining and maintaining long-term and permanent housing. We also shared guidance on the housing challenges experienced by foreign national victims. We are thankful for the opportunity to provide extensive feedback to the agencies as they develop this new initiative.
We met with DOJ OVC and HHS OTIP to discuss victim identification and make recommendations regarding the use of standardized screening questions. We shared with the agencies that victims often do not self-identify and may go undetected when the right questions are not asked by service providers and other professionals. DOJ OVC and HHS OTIP shared that they do not require their grantees to use a standardized tool at intake to allow for flexibility in screening approaches in a wide range of settings. However, they have made efforts to improve detection of human trafficking victims across all programs.
HHS OTIP requested that the Council review screening guidelines it is developing for adult victims encountered in the healthcare, behavioral health, public health, and social welfare settings. The Council provided feedback on the screening tool and shared that the length of the tool was appropriate and the content was clear and easy to follow. HHS OTIP is incorporating our feedback.
Call to Action
We are grateful to HHS OTIP and DOJ OVC for meeting with us, sharing their efforts to identify victims, and soliciting our feedback. We recommend other relevant offices at HHS and DOJ solicit Council feedback on existing trafficking screening tools for victim identification.
We also continue to encourage all federal agencies to explore ways to ensure equal service provision to certain vulnerable victim populations, especially elderly survivors of human trafficking and survivors with disabilities. We recommend agencies require applicants to demonstrate their capacity to serve these special populations and reduce barriers to access created by mobility issues, disabilities, language, or reduced social and familial supports.
SURVIVOR ENGAGEMENT AND EMPOWERMENT
Survivor mentorship and empowerment are the keys to helping survivors with their reintegration into the community and society so they can truly be free and independent. Providing survivors with education, job training, and job placement are important elements to help survivors sustain their life. Also, encouraging and engaging survivors in their leadership capacity will help government and NGOs do better in their anti-trafficking work. This includes more support from federal, state, and local funders for survivor-led organizations that aid individual survivors as well as strengthening the voice of survivors in program implementation. It also includes connecting survivors with government agencies to inform the development of anti-trafficking policies and initiatives.
The Council had an opportunity to engage survivors by sending out surveys in 2016 and 2017 to get their input, and on our regional trips to Minnesota and Washington State. For both trips we hosted roundtable meetings and discussions with survivors to share information about the Council’s work and empower them to share recommendations that could be incorporated into our annual report. Survivors in both regions shared the importance of targeting services to under-served survivor populations, including tribal communities, the elderly, and adult women. They also recommended that federal and state government agencies support long-term services for survivors and work to address gaps in housing, employment, education, health, and mental health support.
The Council’s Labor Laws Committee works together with agencies to help them improve their efforts, and has focused its work with DOL.
In our first report, this Committee recommended:
- DOL collaborate with the Council to establish survivor-informed training.
- DOL Wage and Hour Division (WHD) increase investigations in the hospitality, agriculture, and construction industries to identify potential exploitation or human trafficking cases.
- DOL eliminate age requirements and background checks for all employment assistance programs.
In 2017, we followed up with DOL on several aspects of our recommendations.
“We need more awareness education in the schools and all of the business that traffickers use to promote and transport the victims, such as hotels, bus stations, airports, etc.”
– Delores Day, Wisconsin
This year we met with DOL staff in Washington, DC, as well as staff in the Seattle district office. We learned that DOL already undertakes specific enforcement initiatives in various industries, including in the hospitality, agriculture, and construction industries, and that the focus depends on each geographic region and the labor market. For example, Seattle’s district office has investigated cases in the fishing industry. However, DOL has faced challenges in accessing remote areas with a limited number of investigators. DOL also conducts investigations in industries that often employ low income, seasonal, or temporary workers and refers potential human trafficking cases to law enforcement. Increasing awareness training and staff support can help better detect trafficking in these industries as well as prevent and protect workers from being exploited. To increase staff awareness, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act regulations include a requirement for training outreach workers to identify cases of human trafficking.
In meetings with DOL WHD we learned about DOL’s mandatory human trafficking training for all staff and contractors, as well as its human trafficking training specifically for DOL WHD investigators, which incorporate DHS’ Blue Campaign materials. We encouraged DOL to use survivor trainers who are uniquely positioned to provide strategic guidance that will help increase the detection of trafficking in the workplace. The Council met with DHS and discussed Blue Campaign materials used by DOL and plans to provide feedback to DOL on those materials. In addition, while DOL’s data on trafficking cases is limited, coordination with other federal agencies and organizations that focus on trafficking is critical to increase public awareness about this crime and to help DOL staff better detect trafficking.
While DOL does not have specific job readiness and job placement programs for survivors of trafficking, survivors can access employment programs that are provided for various populations such as the American Job Centers, Job Corps, and YouthBuild. We continue to encourage DOL to eliminate the need for background checks for employment programs as survivors may have convictions as a result of the crime committed against them. We also encouraged DOL to work with Congress to remove age requirements for all employment assistance programs. We have learned from survivors the challenges they face to enter job training programs and secure job placement because of their age or criminal backgrounds.
Call to Action
We recommend DOL continue to enforce the laws within its jurisdiction to protect vulnerable workers and to continue to refer potential trafficking cases to the appropriate authorities. Resources may be limited to equally investigate industries where exploitation occurs, but the Council also recommends increased monitoring and investigation on child labor exploitation that occurs in informal market places, with respect to begging, selling candy on the street, in family businesses, restaurants, and stores.
We further recommend:
- DOL partner with the Council to establish survivor-informed guidelines for DOL’s investigation trainings.
- DOL work with partner agencies to develop a process to collect data on labor trafficking cases by region and industry to inform investigations as well as raise public awareness about the scope of labor trafficking.
We recognize DOL’s efforts to protect workers from exploitation and human trafficking and we encourage increased collaboration across federal, regional, and local offices to enhance these efforts. We look forward to further partnering and collaborating with DOL to develop survivor-informed programs and trainings, especially in the detection and referral of potential trafficking cases.
It is important to document promising and innovative practices as the anti-trafficking movement grows in the United States and around the world. The Council’s Grantmaking Committee focuses on government agencies that fund domestic and international anti-trafficking programs.
In our first report this Committee recommended:
- SPOG Grantmaking Committee agencies (DOS, DOJ, DOL, HHS, and USAID) provide funding for survivor leadership and empowerment.
- SPOG Grantmaking Committee agencies (DOS, DOJ, DOL, HHS, and USAID) collaborate with the Council to identify areas for survivor input in the grantmaking process.
- The SPOG Grantmaking Committee identify promising practices in anti-trafficking programming.
In 2017, this Committee decided to focus on implementation of its second and third recommendations.
This year we met with the SPOG Grantmaking Committee co-chairs from DOS, DOJ, and USAID. Based on the Council’s recommendation in our first report, the SPOG Grantmaking Committee plans to develop a promising practices resource, similar to the 2012 Promising Practices, A Review of U.S. Government-Funded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Programs, which can be regularly updated and maintained. This may allow agencies to identify gaps in evaluation and monitoring, begin to identify and develop best practices, and inform future funding allocations. The SPOG Grantmaking Committee will collaborate with and seek input from the Council on developing the promising practices resource to highlight innovative practices and programming around prevention, empowerment, and leadership of human trafficking survivors. The SPOG Grantmaking Committee’s new promising practices resource should include the following topic areas:
- Survivor-informed/survivor-led trainings, resources, and curricula
- Survivor economic empowerment tools and leadership development curricula
- Survivor collaboration and survivor partnerships
- Survivor-informed and culturally competent awareness materials
- Evaluation tools used to measure survivor-specific services and impact
The Council also suggests the SPOG Grantmaking Committee broaden the scope of the “Promising Practices” document by adding sub-categories to the prevention, protection, and prosecution model, which could include survivor-informed outreach and public awareness materials/curricula and capacity-building specifically for survivor-led initiatives. It could also include specialized and trauma-specific services for survivors, survivor collaboration and partnerships, and measuring and monitoring impacts and outcomes.
The SPOG Grantmaking Committee co-chairs also requested the Council’s input on the grantmaking process to better inform agencies’ efforts. The Council is developing guidelines that address what agencies should look for in grant solicitations and program designs and what to consider in monitoring and evaluation activities. The guidelines will offer suggestions that seek to avoid the re-exploitation of survivors. They may also offer a checklist on what to look for during performance review site visits and make recommendations to assess how programs empower survivors with needed services that build their economic self-sufficiency.
Call to Action
As the SPOG Grantmaking Committee begins to develop a promising practices resource, some critical questions to consider include:
- How are best practices and outcomes being documented?
- What information and/or curricula are currently being used for prevention and awareness internationally and domestically?
- What does survivor collaboration and survivor input look like within each federal agency?
- How is survivor input used and what is the process to incorporate survivor insight?
- What are the grant evaluation and monitoring processes for each federal agency?
The Council hopes to continue working with the SPOG Grantmaking Committee as closely as possible to implement the above suggestions.
COUNCIL TRIPS TO MINNESOTA AND WASHINGTON STATE
In the first year of the Council’s work, various organizations at the local and regional level reached out to the Council to learn more about our work. Consequently, during the Council’s strategic planning retreat in February 2017, Council members identified two regional trips to pursue for the year. First, the Council selected the Midwest Region to maximize resources and support existing efforts of Council members. Second, the Council selected the Pacific Northwest because the Council does not have representation from this part of the country, or from tribal communities.
Goals and Objectives
The Council’s goals for this trip were to gather information, educate, empower, create awareness, and brainstorm about meaningful survivor engagement; meet with regional federal agency offices in Minnesota; and host a public event to raise awareness about human trafficking and survivor engagement.
The Council met with the University President and faculty at Metropolitan State University (MSU), members of the Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force, the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO), and the Minnesota Department of Health. We also met with county sheriffs and attorneys, local survivors, and NGOs.
Key Findings and Takeaways
- Educate Students and Faculty about Human Trafficking. In meeting with leadership at MSU, we learned that while their anti-trafficking efforts are limited, there is great interest in bringing more attention to the issue for students and faculty. MSU is interested in becoming more trauma-informed and developing curricula and awareness materials on human trafficking, and committed to working with the Council to form a strategy to educate staff, faculty, and students.
- Reinforce Terminology about Human Trafficking. Meetings with MSU, task force members, and law enforcement raised questions about how stakeholders speak about and define human trafficking. We heard phrases such as “human trafficking and sex trafficking” or the use of the phrase “sex trafficking” being referenced as the only form of trafficking. We encourage federal and state stakeholders to reinforce state and/or federal definitions of human trafficking, which include both sex and labor trafficking.
- Increase Capacity to Combat Labor Trafficking. We also saw a strong focus among regional stakeholders on sex trafficking, particularly of minors, with less emphasis on investigation and prosecution of labor trafficking cases. We noted a demonstrated need for greater resources to support labor trafficking investigations. Also, stakeholders shared ongoing challenges related to the provision of Continued Presence, a form of short term immigration relief, noting difficulties in DHS’ Homeland Security Investigations’ willingness to request Continued Presence for survivors. The Council is encouraged by DHS’ recent updates to its policy on Continued Presence. We recommend DHS continue to prioritize training for agents in the field on Continued Presence and ensure Special Agents consult with their field Victim Assistance Coordinator/Specialist for technical assistance on each Continued Presence request.
- Strengthen Local Services for Survivors. In meeting with survivors and the Minnesota Department of Health, we heard about the importance of federal agencies supporting long-term programs and services for all survivors, especially those for adult women. They also expressed the need for services that do not have age limits and for culturally appropriate service programs.
- Increase Collaboration between Federal and Local Law Enforcement. During meetings with task force members, including the FBI and local law enforcement, the Council learned about strong and replicable partnerships that have helped centralize information sharing and improve identification and prosecution efforts across state and federal efforts. Task force meetings are critical in encouraging these partnerships, as can be the co-location of a federal agent with local law enforcement.
Goals and Objectives
The Council’s primary goal in visiting Washington State was to meet and connect with tribal communities and learn about their anti-trafficking efforts. Since there are no tribal members on the Council, we hoped to focus on outreach to tribal communities to enhance our recommendations to federal agencies. We wanted to learn the extent of trafficking in tribal communities and types of trafficking; challenges they face in providing services; gaps in services and/or training and education of staff and tribal leaders; and the types of collaborations they would like to see with the federal government to address human trafficking. Additional goals for the Washington trip were to hear from local survivors and solicit their recommendations, observe and learn about the work of federal agencies at the regional level, and learn about anti-trafficking efforts in Washington State.
We met with the Tulalip and Muckleshoot Tribes. We convened survivors from the surrounding Seattle region to invite their feedback on a number of issues, including social service provision and the anti-trafficking movement at large. We met with the regional offices for HHS, DOL, DHS, and the USAO. Lastly, we met with NGOs and law enforcement officials of the Washington Advisory Committee on Trafficking (WashACT), the Ending Exploitation Collaborative, and the Washington State Department of Commerce, Office of Crime Victims Advocacy.
Key Findings and Takeaways
- Develop Resources for Tribal Communities. The Tulalip and Muckleshoot Tribes are in the early stages of their anti-trafficking work, leveraging their existing services for children and domestic violence survivors. To expand their work, they are looking for resources that are tailored to, or focused specifically on, tribal communities.
- Collaborate with Tribal Communities to Collect Data. Data about the incidence and prevalence of trafficking within reservations and tribal communities is needed to secure support among tribal leadership to address human trafficking as an issue of concern.
- Develop Long-Term Solutions for Housing, Education, and Employment for Survivors. In meeting with local survivors, they shared how housing for adults over 25 and scholarships for survivors to pursue education are still lacking. Barriers to viable employment still persist, including lack of vacatur laws in all states. Survivors also requested that employers receive training on how to work with survivors. Long-term solutions also require support for survivor leadership and mentorship programs.
- Increase the Pool of Trauma-Informed Mental Health Providers. Survivors often find it difficult to find private therapists who are trained to address trauma. In addition, interns or mental health trainees are often providing low-cost services but without the adequate training. We recommend institutions ensure mental health training programs are including curriculum about working with human trafficking survivors.
- Promote Collaboration to Ensure an Increase in Labor Trafficking Investigations and Prosecutions. In Seattle, the WashACT task force receives funding from DOJ through the Enhanced Collaborative Model Program. DHS’ Homeland Security Investigations takes a proactive approach to working closely with other members of this task force, including service providers, the Seattle Police Department, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, building a high degree of trust and collaboration between their offices. This has led to more investigations in labor trafficking industries than in many jurisdictions and we recommend replicating this example.
The U.S Advisory Council on Human Trafficking encourages partnership and collaboration between government agencies, survivor-led organizations, and anti-trafficking organizations to empower, engage, and employ survivors who bring their experience and expertise to create better programs and anti-trafficking policies. We highly recommend federal agencies incorporate trauma-informed approaches, with survivor input, into their work implementing federal anti-trafficking policies and programs. We hope that our recommendations will be implemented by federal agencies through establishing national and global partnerships. Collaboration must be the foundation of our national efforts. We also hope that this report will provide an opportunity for collaboration between federal agencies and the next U.S. Advisory Council.
“Survivors would benefit from housing, vocational opportunities, healthcare, trauma informed therapy, alternative therapy, and collaborative community networking to empower victims and survivors.”
– Angie Conn, WV
ADDENDUM ON PROTOCOLS AND PROCEDURES
The Council developed and adopted protocols and procedures that guide our work. They include:
- Leadership Structure and Council Member Duties: The leadership structure remains the same, however the Secretary is no longer responsible for taking meeting minutes at every conference call. Members rotate note-taking responsibility.
- Committees: The Council determined that Committees may change at the discretion of the Council members. Time-bound ad hoc Committees may form to address specific issues and needs.
- Decision Making: The Council clarified in the Protocols and Procedures that when a decision is made, leadership and Committee members may take the necessary steps to carry out the decision, without consulting the entire Council.
 The SPOG consists of senior officials designated as representatives of the PITF.
 President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Progress in Combating Trafficking in Persons: The U.S. Government Response to Modern Slavery, October 2016, found at https://2009-2017.state.gov/j/tip/rls/reports/2016/263595.htm.
 U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Healthy Students, Human Trafficking in America’s Schools, 2015, found at https://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/sites/default/files/HumanTraffickinginAmericasSchools.pdf.
 U.S. Department of Education, Human Trafficking Framework for Instructional Programming in Schools, 2017, found at https://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/sites/default/files/USDOE_UseCase_HT_2017.pdf.
 See 20 C.F.R. section 653.107.