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About the Council
U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking
About the President’s Interagency Task Force
What is Human Trafficking?
Underserved Populations Committee
Survivor-Informed Leadership Committee
Appendix A: Relevant Anti-Trafficking Laws
Appendix B: Acronyms

“We chose the image of a butterfly for the cover of our report for several reasons. Butterflies appear fragile, but they fly thousands of miles and survive in different climates. They travel together in unity and undergo metamorphosis from a caterpillar to a beautiful, colorful butterfly. As survivors, we undergo a similar transformation and we seek—together—justice, freedom, and harmony.”
– Flor Molina, Member, U.S. Advisory Council


As members of the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, we are thankful to every survivor who has worked publicly and behind the scenes to ensure that survivors’ voices are valued and heard in federal, state, local, and tribal efforts to combat human trafficking. We also thank the nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), community members, faith-based organizations, government agencies, philanthropists, and individuals who have supported survivors of human trafficking in the United States and around the world.

We are sincerely grateful to members who served on the Council in 2015-2017 for the monumental steps they took to raise awareness and promote survivor empowerment with U.S. government agencies and local communities in the fight against human trafficking. We strive to honor, build upon, and continue their groundbreaking work. We also want to express our deepest gratitude to former Council member, Nat Paul, who helped shape our early thinking and the recommendations that became the foundation of this report.

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 Justice (DOJ), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 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 recommend measurable and achievable goals in this report.

We are most grateful to the Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (DOS/TIP Office) and ICF International Inc. staff for supporting the Council’s work.

Finally, we would like to thank President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump, Members of Congress, and 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 eight 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) of 2015, Pub. L. 114-22, also known as the Survivors of Human Trafficking Empowerment Act, and in March 2018, President Donald Trump appointed members of the Council to:

  • Provide advice and recommendations to the U.S. government, specifically the Senior Policy Operating Group (SPOG)[1] 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, local, and tribal anti-trafficking efforts. The Council has organized itself into two committees to conduct its work: Underserved Populations Committee and Survivor-Informed Leadership Committee. Information about each Council member is provided on pages 6 and 7.

Note to the White House: The U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking acknowledges the efforts of the White House to combat human trafficking and appreciates the White House’s willingness to work with the Council and survivors to eliminate human trafficking in the United States. With a minimum number of members currently serving on the Council (eight), we encourage the White House to appoint new members pursuant to section 115 of the JVTA of 2015.

Note to Congress: We welcomed the passage of Pub. L. 115-425, the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2018, specifically section 114 removing the prohibition on compensating members of the Council for their time and expertise. We encourage Congress to act further to appropriate funds for this purpose so federal agencies may continue engaging survivors and so that survivors are respected for their contributions and time. We also acknowledge the extension of the JVTA’s sunset provision for the Council to 2021 and encourage Congress to act to make the Council permanent. We also urge Congress to modify section 103 of the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2018 to offer victim services grants to any underserved population with no age restrictions.

“This movement was born from the pain, hurt, abuse, strength, passion, and courage of many survivors who had a voice, but were not heard. With allies, our efforts grew, but we cannot forget its purpose. To truly care and support survivors, we have to consciously and effortlessly always have them at the table—so we learn and grow from each other. As survivors, our actions should not divide us, but should unite us so we can lead and help each other learn and grow this movement. We share a bond of understanding of the evils in this world. Working together, we can create opportunity and change for us all.”
– Tina Frundt, Member, U.S. Advisory Council

U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking

Tina Frundt
Council Chair and Underserved Populations Committee

Executive Director, Courtney’s House

Robert Lung
Council Vice-Chair and Underserved Populations Committee

Vice-Chair of Colorado Human Trafficking Council; Member of the National Advisory Committee on Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United States

Bukola Love Oriola
Survivor-Informed Leadership Committee

Founder, The Enitan Story and CEO, Bukola Oriola Group, LLC

Ronny Marty
Underserved Populations Committee

Independent consultant and speaker to combat human trafficking; Labor trafficking expert

Flor Molina
Underserved Populations Committee

Founding member of the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST) Survivor Leadership Program; Member of the National Survivor Network; Survivor advocate

Harold D’Souza
Survivor-Informed Leadership Committee

Co-Founder of Eyes Open International; Founding member of the National Survivor Network; Member of the Global Sustainability Network

Tanya Street
Survivor-Informed Leadership Committee

Founder of Identifiable Me

Sheila White
Survivor-Informed Leadership Committee

Survivor Leadership Activist

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 remains a scourge on our country and the world. It devastates individuals, families, and communities. While much work remains to be done to bring traffickers to justice, protect victims, and ensure survivors’ long-term prosperity, we acknowledge and recognize the important steps U.S. government agencies are taking to combat human trafficking.

The United States offers many promising and innovative approaches to combat this heinous crime, including the engagement of survivors in key positions that inform and enhance anti-trafficking programs and policies. As members of the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, our aim is to be collaborative and solution-focused, to build partnerships with and across U.S. government agencies, and to help surface gaps or needs in our shared fight against modern slavery. We recognize the steps many U.S. government agencies are taking to:

  • Increase awareness of survivor- and trauma-informed practices among U.S. government staff.
  • Build and support networks of survivors to provide training, technical assistance, and capacity building to U.S. government agencies and their grantees.
  • Increase public awareness of all forms of human trafficking, including labor trafficking.
  • Expand grantmaking efforts that address all forms of human trafficking and offer services and protection for all victims/survivors no matter their age, gender, creed, race, or sexual orientation.

Human Trafficking in the United States

Prosecution: DOJ initiated a total of 282 federal human trafficking prosecutions in fiscal year (FY) 2017, an increase from 241 in FY 2016, and charged 553 defendants in FY 2017 compared to 531 in FY 2016.

Protection: DOJ’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) grantees providing victim services reported 8,003 open client cases, including 4,349 new clients, from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

Prevention: HHS continued to fund an NGO to operate the national human trafficking hotline. In FY 2017, the hotline received 62,835 calls from across the United States and U.S. territories, identified 8,759 human trafficking cases, and provided resources and referrals to 10,615 victims.

Source: U.S. Department of State. (2018). 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report. Retrieved from

Through ongoing collaboration with the Council and other survivors, we believe these efforts will be sustained and grow, and will be rooted in a deep understanding of survivors’ experiences and how they can inform U.S. government responses to trafficking.

This report provides actionable recommendations to U.S. government agencies on efforts nationally and internationally, and as agencies collaborate with state, local, and tribal governments, NGOs, faith-based organizations, community members, businesses, philanthropists, and the survivor community. It is organized by the Council’s two working committees focused on underserved populations and survivor-informed leadership, respectively. For each topic, our report provides an overview of the committee, identifies recommendations to improve federal anti-trafficking policies and programs, and highlights areas for future collaboration.

Restitution for Trafficking Victims

Criminal restitution for trafficking victims is mandatory under U.S. federal law. One NGO report found courts ordered restitution in only 27 percent of cases and noted that even when restitution is ordered, it is rarely received by victims.* More efforts by law enforcement, prosecutors, and the courts are needed to ensure victims receive restitution funds.

*Source: The Human Trafficking Legal Center and WilmerHale. (2018). United States federal courts’ continuing failure to order mandatory criminal restitution for human trafficking victims. Retrieved from 

What is Human Trafficking?[2]

Sex Trafficking

When an adult is required to engage in a commercial sex act 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, enticing, harboring, 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 commercial sex.

  • Child Sex Trafficking
    Any child (under the age of 18) who has been recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, advertised, maintained, patronized, or solicited to engage in a commercial sex act is a victim of trafficking regardless of whether or not force, fraud, or coercion is used. 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

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. U.S. law prohibits the importation of goods produced by forced labor, including forced child labor; convict labor; and indentured labor under penal sanctions.

  • Debt Bondage
    U.S. law prohibits the use of a debt as a form of coercion to compel a person’s labor. Some workers fall victim to traffickers or recruiters who unlawfully exploit an initial debt assumed as a condition of employment, while in certain countries some workers “inherit” the debt. Although contract violations and hazardous working conditions for migrant laborers do not in themselves constitute human trafficking, the imposition of costs and debts on these laborers can contribute to a situation of debt bondage. In other cases, employment-based temporary work programs in which the workers’ legal status in the country is tied to a particular employer present challenges to workers who would like to flee from such an employer.
  • Domestic Servitude
    Working in a private residence can create unique vulnerabilities, particularly because what happens in a private residence often is hidden from the world, and it is easy to isolate a worker in a private residence. Domestic workplaces are often informal, connected to off-duty living quarters, and not shared with other workers. Such an environment is conducive to exploitation because authorities cannot inspect private homes as easily as formal workplaces. The use of informal, or even verbal, employment contracts compounds vulnerability. Foreign domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse due to factors such as language and cultural barriers and lack of community ties.
  • 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 for exploitation, 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.

Unlawful Recruitment or Use of Child Soldiers

Child soldiering can be a form 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 abused and exploited by armed groups.[3]

Underserved Populations Committee


The Underserved Populations Committee was created based on an open dialogue among Council members who identified a wide variety of underserved human trafficking victim populations who are at greater risk of and more vulnerable to human trafficking. We acknowledge there are a multitude of underserved populations; however, we selected five to focus on this year:

  • Labor trafficking victims: There are considerable focus, awareness, and resources to identify and support sex trafficking victims and prosecute sex traffickers. A significant percentage of all trafficking cases, however, involve individuals who are victims of labor trafficking and who may also represent other underserved populations—from men and boys to indigenous populations and those with special needs.
  • Boys and men: Boys and men comprise a significant portion of human trafficking victims nationally and internationally, but there is a vast discrepancy in the services available for them. Resources and public awareness activities are focused largely on women and girls—many men and boys do not identify as victims or request services.[4] A 2010 article noted that “[o]f the 222 institutions and programs receiving U.S. funding, only two were committed to combating trafficking of men and boys.”[5] Some studies on commercial sexual exploitation of children, however, have found that boys make up as much as 40 to 45 percent of the victim population in some cities.[6]
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex (LGBTQI) individuals: It is well documented that one contributing factor to youth running away from home is the experience of their families rejecting them when they identify as LGBTQI. A recent study demonstrated that among homeless youth who were victims of human trafficking, up to 39 percent were LGBTQI runaway youth.[7] There is also a common assumption that all girls who are victims of trafficking are heterosexual and that all boys who are victims of trafficking are homosexual—further stigmatizing or labeling victims as a result of their trafficking experience.[8] LGBTQI victims and survivors must have safe spaces and opportunities to self-identify their sexuality and gender. Federal agencies and their grantees must raise awareness about LGBTQI specific needs and offer victims and survivors the choice to participate in relevant, strength-based programming or services.
  • Indigenous populations: American Indian, Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native, and Pacific Islander populations have experienced inter-generational trauma patterns, including tribal relocations and forced assimilation in boarding schools. Indigenous populations of women and children (boys and girls) face additional risk factors related to trafficking, including high rates of poverty and involvement in the child welfare system.[9] There remain significant gaps, however, in our understanding of the prevalence and need for services among indigenous populations, and for training and funding for tribal nations to identify victims of human trafficking. The vulnerabilities of these populations are also exacerbated by traffickers taking advantage of their ability to escape criminal prosecution when trafficking takes place on native lands or reservations.
  • People with special needs, disabilities, and the elderly: There are significant gaps in the availability of long-term housing and extended support services for people with disabilities and elderly victims, as well as limited training for service providers on identifying and advocating for community services or accommodations.

Among these five populations are common underlying challenges, which include: limited public awareness, lack of data, limited service providers available to address their needs, fewer prosecutions of cases involving victims from these populations, and distinctly limited funding for grants or resources. For example, while some studies document that only 3.6 percent of prosecuted trafficking cases involve male victims, other studies have found that males account for up to 45 percent of the victim population.[10] These challenges serve as a call to action to address these critical disconnects.

It is well known among federal agency staff and the anti-trafficking community that there is a lack of awareness and available services for these populations. This Committee encourages federal agencies to promote equity and inclusivity for these underserved populations. We appreciate agencies’ efforts to partner with survivors and further encourage agencies to expand their reach to work with survivors from these populations as well as survivor-led direct service organizations.

In preparation for this report, we met with the following federal agencies to learn about their awareness of and capacity to address the needs of these populations, as well as to call for enhanced efforts: DOJ’s Office for Victims of Crime (DOJ/OVC), HHS’ Office on Trafficking in Persons (HHS/OTIP), HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (HHS/ORR), HHS’ Family and Youth Services Bureau (HHS/FYSB), HHS’ Administration for Native Americans (HHS/ANA), and HHS’ Children’s Bureau (HHS/CB).

“Survivors: Practice, do not preach. Desires change nothing, decisions change something, determination changes everything.”
– Harold D’Souza, Member, U.S. Advisory Council


1. We recommend DOJ, HHS, DOS, USAID, and DOL provide incentives to potential grantees to offer services to underserved populations as well as seek additional appropriations for and prioritize existing funding to support underserved populations.

We commend DOJ/OVC for its recent field-generated grantmaking efforts to address labor trafficking and encourage other grantmaking entities to dedicate resources to prevent and respond to trafficking and protect victims who have been underserved. There remains, however, a significant lack of dedicated grant funding to research, identify, explore, and sustain direct services tailored to underserved trafficking victim populations. This lack of resources and support is an impediment for organizations to fully provide targeted and needed services. We recommend grantmaking agencies offer incentives in anti-trafficking grant opportunities for applicants to target and support underserved populations. We specifically recommend agencies afford higher scoring opportunities to grant applicants who show an understanding of the prevalence and needs for one or more underserved populations within their jurisdiction. We further recommend agencies afford additional points to applicants who demonstrate an ability to serve one or more underserved populations, which may include the provision of specific and direct tailored services, such as long-term housing for the disabled or elderly. It may also include shelter options for men and boys, counseling services, and/or employment assistance that is customized to meet the needs of underserved populations.

2. We recommend HHS/CB and HHS/FYSB support increased training opportunities for direct service professionals on identifying, preventing, and responding to trafficking among underserved children and youth populations, and encourage training opportunities by survivors of human trafficking.

Many underserved children and youth who are victims of human trafficking, or are at risk of trafficking, may come into contact with the child welfare, runaway/homeless youth, or domestic/dating violence systems. Targeted training for direct service and child welfare professionals that raises awareness and identifies the unique protective and risk factors facing each underserved child/youth population is critical to prevent human trafficking and identify potential victims. Training is also needed to identify and connect young people with appropriate and needed services that may help them address unique challenges based on their trafficking experience, which may relate to specialized counseling services, shelter or housing options, or expungement of juvenile records.

We recognize HHS/CB’s mobilization of services, funding, and policies toward prevention efforts and overall family well-being, as well as its resources and products for child welfare professionals on identifying and understanding human trafficking, including through its Child Welfare Information Gateway.[11] We further acknowledge HHS/CB for continuing to offer training opportunities to direct service professionals on human trafficking through its Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative[12] and suggest HHS/CB regularly update these trainings to address new or emerging issues, such as family control and identification of male victims. HHS/CB’s recent grants to help develop child welfare systems’ human trafficking responses are an important step in building infrastructure and multi-system collaboration. We recommend HHS/CB further expand these grants to support the enhanced training opportunities noted below and to incorporate innovative ways to provide specialized direct services and to identify trafficking survivors. This may be done in part by encouraging increased community partnerships with anti-trafficking NGOs that provide tailored services. We also acknowledge HHS/FYSB’s allocation of resources to support training and technical assistance on human trafficking through its Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center and other FYSB coordination with HHS/OTIP to tailor and deliver training.

We specifically recommend HHS/CB and HHS/FYSB support the development of enhanced training curricula for child welfare professionals and supervisors, including child protective services investigators, foster care and adoptive families, runaway/homeless youth staff, and domestic/dating violence victim advocates to help raise awareness about underserved children and youth trafficking victim populations. Training should:

  • Address specific warning signs to prevent or identify potential trafficking among underserved children and youth populations (e.g., family control concerns for LGBTQI youth).
  • Discuss unique risk factors underserved children and youth trafficking victims may face.
  • Include both sex and labor trafficking.
  • Include a focus on the trafficking of males.
  • Share protocols for child welfare professionals, including child protective services investigators, to use when they receive a report of trafficking to connect victims to needed services.
  • Discuss tailored service and resource needs of underserved children and youth trafficking victims.
  • Share information on complex trauma and trauma- and survivor-informed practices.
  • Include survivor leaders who represent specific underserved populations as trainers.

3. We recommend all PITF agencies seek to increase data collection efforts within their authority to gather more detailed information about underserved populations to better inform agencies’ resource allocations and service offerings to trafficking victims/survivors.

The most vulnerable human trafficking victims are those that are never identified. A common characteristic among all of the underserved trafficking victim populations this Committee focused on is a lack of data about these populations. They are underserved in part because of our unawareness and because we simply do not ask more specific questions. PITF agencies should make efforts to more completely identify sub-populations of the victims with whom they interact. Collecting data on underserved victim populations is essential to understand what is happening in the field, and which sectors or communities are most affected and need services. Knowledge is power and properly collected data would provide a clearer picture of the issues facing all human trafficking victims, including those who are underserved.

While some PITF agencies compile human trafficking information or gather it from outside sources, there is a gap both in the type of data collected and the specificity of the data as it relates to underserved populations. There is also variability in the degree to which agencies collect data and their data collection practices. For example, when the Council inquired about statistics regarding specific underserved populations agencies served or what percentage of clients were impacted by trafficking, some agency components did not have a protocol in place to collect this data or the authority to do so.

We commend DOJ/OVC and HHS/OTIP on their efforts to collect, compile, and report data regarding human trafficking. DOJ/OVC disseminates data across its anti-trafficking grant programs, collecting data on the number of clients served, their age, gender (male, female, or transgender), type of victimization (labor or sex trafficking), and services offered. HHS/OTIP also disseminates data and information regarding four specific grant programs: Trafficking Victims Assistance Program (TVAP); Domestic Victims of Human Trafficking Program (DVHT); National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH); and the Look Beneath the Surface Regional Anti-Trafficking Program (formerly the Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking Regional Program). Through these grant programs, HHS/OTIP similarly collects data on the number of clients served, age (adults and minors), gender, LGBTQI, type of victimization, and services offered. We acknowledge HHS/OTIP seeks to capture more information on underserved populations through its DVHT and TVAP programs, including disability status, tribal affiliation, and race/ethnicity. HHS/ORR also collects data through its Unaccompanied Alien Children program including information about native language, which may indicate indigenous origin. However, not all of these grant programs collect data regarding indigenous, disabled, or elderly trafficking victim populations. We encourage other PITF agencies to review DOJ/OVC’s and HHS/OTIP’s data collection efforts and for them to share information with other federal agencies regarding their data collection methods.

We further recommend PITF agencies engaged in data collection gather additional and more detailed data regarding underserved populations consistent with current mandates. While some survivors may not disclose this information, others will be thankful and additional information can help providers identify needed supports and build better data infrastructure on underserved populations. We note that the Council’s 2017 report recommended agencies use standardized screening questions and acknowledged that agencies allow grantees flexibility in screening approaches.[13] However, to increase the identification of underserved victims and our understanding of needed services, we suggest PITF grantmaking agencies recommend anti-trafficking grantees use questionnaires to collect more data points at intake. This additional data may include current age, age at the time of trafficking victimization, sexual orientation and gender identity, whether the trafficking victim would qualify as a member of an indigenous population, whether their trafficking victimization included labor and/or sex trafficking, and whether they would be qualified as special needs or special-abled.

Similarly, we encourage agencies whose grantees are not primarily focused on trafficking but are likely to encounter trafficking victims or survivors to gather additional data regarding gender, age, sexuality, special needs, disabilities, and potential type of trafficking experience. For example, HHS/ANA is already engaged in anti-trafficking efforts with indigenous populations and prioritizes grantmaking focused on substance use and poverty within tribal nations. We also note with appreciation that HHS/ANA and HHS/OTIP have jointly published a “Native Youth Toolkit on Human Trafficking.”[14] HHS/ANA is uniquely positioned to help better detail the identity and needs of victims from indigenous populations by encouraging its grantees to modify service applications or review processes to collect information about whether participants are members of an underserved population and potential trafficking victims/survivors.

We acknowledge that the usefulness of collecting data on trafficking victim populations is limited by the efficiency of its compilation and agencies’ abilities to transmit that information effectively. We commend HHS’ 2018-2022 Strategic Action Plan, which calls upon the agency to “[e]stablish data standards and as appropriate, ensure that federally conducted or supported healthcare or public health programs, activities, or surveys collect and report data in five specific demographic categories: race, ethnicity, sex, primary language, and disability status.”[15] We recommend HHS further prioritize the collection, analysis, and dissemination of data on age, sexual orientation, and an inquiry into whether recipients of care report labor and/or sex trafficking victimization. We commend HHS/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for adding new data collection fields for health care providers relating to sex and labor trafficking among adults and children.[16] We further recommend other PITF agencies consider similar strategic objectives to enhance their data collection and compilation policies and procedures.

Increased collaboration between agencies and service providers is needed to create a centralized or national repository for data on anti-trafficking programming, services, and populations served. We recognize DOJ/OVC’s and HHS/OTIP’s current grant-related data collection efforts and their dissemination of data through digestible fact sheets and materials. While we recommend all anti-trafficking grantee programs expand data collection efforts, we believe the PITF is best positioned to lead the creation of a national data repository. This repository could house and collect data from PITF grantmaking agencies and assist them in creating relevant and useful materials that raise awareness and document the victim/survivor populations they serve.

“As a survivor, I have trusted and been betrayed. In my life I have been broken, felt alone, hopeless, and worthless. But thank God I overcame to show hope and love. My circumstances did not make me weak; they made me stronger to understand what, why, when, where, and how human trafficking can occur. I am at the best stage of my life to educate the public, to confront critics, and to help others. It’s never too late.”
– Ronny Marty, Member, U.S. Advisory Council

Future Collaboration

We look forward to continuing our collaboration with federal agencies to promote increased awareness and resources for underserved trafficking victim populations. We hope to meet with other PITF agencies to support cross-agency information sharing on data and best practices to help surface what we know about underserved populations and where there are gaps. Specifically, we hope to support PITF agencies in identifying promising or best practices, initiatives, or policy efforts in working with or on behalf of underserved populations that can be shared broadly across agencies, stakeholders, and the public. We further hope to work more closely with agencies such as DOJ, DOL, DHS, and EEOC to raise awareness, and increase training and law enforcement responses to address labor trafficking in specific industries such as agriculture, construction, and hospitality that may use contractors or recruiters to lure foreign nationals into trafficking situations. Related training for law enforcement professionals should include information on indicators of force, fraud, and coercion as victims of forced labor may be smuggled into the country.

Survivor-Informed Leadership Committee


The Survivor-Informed Leadership Committee was created to:

  • Promote the delivery of technical assistance and capacity building for survivor-led organizations to become successful and sustainable in the anti-trafficking movement.
  • Support the continued building of strong and long-term partnerships between survivors and federal agencies.
  • Ensure appropriate and varied survivor representation in the review of and feedback on federal agency initiatives, campaigns, and products.
We define survivor-informed as the incorporation of survivors’ expertise from inception through development and completion of efforts relating to all forms of anti-trafficking work. We believe that to empower survivors, federal agencies must engage them in meaningful collaboration, support their efforts to become self-sufficient, and promote the creation and sustainment of survivor-led anti-trafficking organizations.

Our Committee aims to ensure that throughout all collaboration efforts, survivors’ voices are included in ways that respect their lived experiences, maintain their integrity, and foster meaningful and trusting relationships. In addition, survivors should not be viewed by their lived experiences alone, but by the meaningful contributions and value they have to offer. There is a fragility that is born from experiencing trauma. However, this does not diminish a survivor’s capacity, integrity, and wisdom to contribute meaningfully to the support and process of anti-trafficking work.

In preparation for this report, the Committee met with the following agencies: DOJ/OVC, HHS/OTIP, DHS/Blue Campaign, DOS/TIP Office, and USAID. In those conversations, we focused on capacity building for survivor-led organizations, survivor empowerment, and public awareness efforts.

“It is important to me as a survivor leadership activist to continue to share my testimony. Survivors are often used for their experiences and the re-exploitation of survivors is a significant concern when they are not viewed or treated as respected leaders in the anti-trafficking field. We must shift how we view leadership development for survivors. Organizations working with survivors must closely evaluate what empowerment really looks like for survivors so they can create healthy environments for survivors to grow in their leadership capabilities.”
– Sheila White, Member, U.S. Advisory Council


1. We recommend that DOJ, HHS, USAID, and DOS support increased capacity building for survivor-led organizations within and outside the United States so that survivor-led organizations will be able to compete on an even playing field for federal grant opportunities.

Many survivor-led organizations are small, new to federal grantmaking, and have limited administrative resources to sustain and grow their work. Their knowledge and expertise in victim and survivor services, public awareness, and law enforcement responses and prevention, however, are invaluable to effectively combat human trafficking. To be survivor-informed, federal agencies should not just support individual survivors, but also organizations within and outside the United States—led by survivors—whose missions are to eradicate modern slavery. To this end, we specifically recommend DOJ, HHS, USAID, and DOS adopt strategies that:

  • Encourage federal anti-trafficking grant applicants through funding announcements, or current grantees through training and technical assistance, to support and/or hire survivors and/or survivor-led organizations as sub-grantees to assist in the design and implementation of proposed programs to ensure they are survivor-informed.
  • Encourage grant applicants to partner with survivor-led organizations by including language in notices of funding opportunities stating that ultimate funding considerations will take into account diversity of partnering, such as involvement with survivor-led partners and survivor-led organizations, when feasible in accordance with agencies’ grantmaking policies.
  • Help survivor-led organizations build their capacity to manage fiscal and other requirements for federal grants domestically and abroad. This support may include training and technical assistance on grant writing, budgeting, and performance reporting for potential or new federal grantees, which include survivor-led organizations.
  • Use peer-to-peer technical assistance models to connect survivor leaders and organizations with each other. For example, fellowship opportunities could be created for individual survivor leaders to provide technical assistance to survivor-led organizations within and outside of the United States. Current initiatives, such as HHS/OTIP’s Human Trafficking Leadership Academy,[17] may offer fertile ground for such peer-to-peer learning to occur. Peer-to-peer learning would offer mutually beneficial opportunities for the survivor leader and the organization. It would help the organization build capacity and help the survivor leader gain more experience and expertise in leadership and professional development.

We acknowledge the resources, technical assistance, and tools several federal agencies have developed, which can support survivor-led and other organizations to be survivor-informed. HHS/OTIP’s Toolkit for Building Survivor-Informed Organizations is a helpful resource in building organizational capacity and assessing an organization’s mission, leadership, and policies.[18] We encourage HHS/OTIP to continue to build upon this resource by identifying innovative and new approaches that will also offer tailored technical assistance to survivor leaders and survivor-led organizations to grow and expand. We encourage other PITF agencies to use and adapt this resource as well and as they work with and support survivors and survivor-led organizations.

We recognize DOJ/OVC’s training and technical assistance support it provides to its grantees and potential grantees, which include survivor-led organizations. We further recommend DOJ/OVC increase outreach to survivor-led organizations to access existing technical assistance and support prior to funding announcements in order to help build their organizational capacity to prepare and submit competitive grant applications. This support may focus on grant writing, budgeting, and performance reporting.

2. We recommend PITF agencies support increased survivor leadership opportunities to provide technical assistance, capacity building, and other support to federal initiatives, grantees, and programs.

Survivors need additional avenues and supports to attain long-term financial economic security. We recommend that agencies better facilitate survivor participation in existing fellowship programs. We also recommend agencies create fellowship or leadership initiatives to support survivors’ meaningful engagement with agencies and their transitions to more permanent salaried opportunities within the federal government. We recommend agencies consider looking at existing fellowship opportunities, such as the Presidential Management Fellows Program or the Boren Fellowship, to help develop these opportunities for survivors.[19] The transition from consultant or fellow to permanent employee offers agencies important insights into how policies and programs can be survivor-informed by embedding the survivor’s experience and expertise into the agency’s daily operations and decision-making processes. These positions will also contribute to the overall financial stability and capacity for survivors to meet their needs and the needs of their families—to continue to be fully integrated into day-to-day efforts to combat trafficking.

In addition, with the increased demand for survivor-informed resources, federal agencies must also ensure their initiatives supported by survivors offer proper foundational assistance to survivors to execute the work effectively. We recommend agencies offer professional development, self-care supports, and vicarious trauma trainings to survivors in fellowship or other leadership roles.

We acknowledge HHS/OTIP’s pilot effort in Colorado to offer a long-term technical assistance placement of a survivor leader to support local programs’ efforts to become survivor-informed. We believe other agencies could benefit from reviewing and adopting similar models, which draw from survivors’ expertise to audit organizations’ policies, procedures, and programming to become survivor-informed. Prior to the construction and facilitation of such auditing processes, we recommend uniform and standardized tools be developed to conduct audits, as well as training and support for survivors to build their professional qualifications to conduct them effectively.

Importance of Survivor Empowerment: Turning Obstacles into Opportunities

As part of rebuilding a life free of exploitation, survivors should be engaged, encouraged, educated, empowered, and employed in the anti-trafficking movement. Survivors bring many talents, passions, aspirations, educational goals, and dreams. As agencies work with survivors, they must shift their own cultures to not see survivors as victims only, but as equal contributors and leaders in the anti-trafficking community.

3. We recommend DHS/Blue Campaign, DOJ/OVC, and HHS/OTIP enhance public awareness materials and initiatives by increasing coordination with survivor leaders and marketing experts to better reach youth populations who may under-report trafficking.

Trafficking in this country has a culture. Campaigns encouraging youth to speak out and report must acknowledge and understand it. Using age and culturally appropriate language and images in public awareness materials will better reach young people who may under-report and help to educate them on the risks of trafficking. Federal agencies’ public awareness and outreach materials have the potential reach, power, and urgency to infiltrate this trafficking culture. DOJ/OVC’s Faces of Human Trafficking and HHS/OTIP’s Look Beneath the Surface initiatives offer important resources in this effort and include awareness materials, public outreach videos, and trainings.[20] Increasing outreach to under-reporting communities will increase our understanding of what trafficking looks like in the United States. We recommend DOJ/OVC, HHS/OTIP, and DHS/Blue Campaign further engage survivor leaders who work with youth populations who may under-report and are familiar with the communities enmeshed in this culture as they build and disseminate new campaigns or adapt existing ones. We further recommend they coordinate with marketing experts who can help deepen agencies’ reach within communities. We encourage agencies to use focus groups and needs assessments to create campaigns that will resonate with young people and combat the norms that may prevent them from reporting, or make it difficult to do so. The engagement of both survivor leaders and marketing experts will offer a critical confluence of expertise that draws from the community, but also offers data-driven strategies to reach specific audiences.

In addition, we commend DHS/Blue Campaign’s efforts to begin to build an outcome-focused framework to assess and measure behavior changes and impact based on its public outreach initiatives. Other agencies should also consider how they track data and outcomes on the effectiveness of their awareness campaigns to assess, for example, not only how many materials were distributed, but how they affect reporting statistics within targeted communities.

“Becoming a survivor leader takes more than just sharing one’s personal experience. Survivor leaders have spent countless hours in school or in the field, learning and building their capacity and credibility. Allies should be wary of assuming what survivors know or do not, ask questions rather than make assumptions, and give survivors a chance and a seat at the leadership table.”
– Bukola Oriola, Member, U.S. Advisory Council

4. We recommend DOJ host a national convening on anti-trafficking practices and policies.

DOJ held its last national conference on human trafficking in 2010. In 2014 and again in 2016, DOJ/OVC organized a Listening and Survivor Forum that transformed the lives of many survivors as well as opened opportunities for dialogue and information sharing on resources, gaps, and prevention methods to combat human trafficking in the United States. The inclusion of law enforcement across various federal agencies at the Forum was crucial.

We recommend DOJ plan another similar national conference inviting not only PITF agencies, but also survivor leaders from diverse groups representing all forms of human trafficking, including those from underserved populations. Invitees should include, for example, sex and labor trafficking survivors, and survivors from various communities, such as those from the LGBTQI community, communities of color, and American Indian and Alaska Native communities. This conference would enhance efforts across the federal government to better integrate agencies’ initiatives and share best practices. It would also afford agencies a chance to gather needed information or promising practices to build future programs, trainings, or public awareness campaigns. Agencies such as DHS/Blue Campaign, DOJ/OVC, and HHS/OTIP could also use this convening as a platform to share their experiences, feedback, and effective outcomes from partnering with survivor leaders who have experienced all forms of human trafficking.

Future Collaboration

Meaningful and effective collaboration that promotes survivor leadership requires ongoing partnerships between federal agencies and survivors, including the Council. It requires that we work together to identify shared goals and recognize and draw from survivors’ expertise. We hope to work with agencies to better understand their grantmaking policies and limitations and explore increased grantmaking opportunities for survivor-led organizations or organizations that partner with them.

We also look forward to meeting with other PITF agencies to support their efforts to be survivor-informed, help ensure their work is guided by survivors’ professional and lived experiences, and enhance their public awareness efforts to reach youth who under-report. We further hope that federal agencies continue to identify and grow pathways for survivors to meaningfully inform agency work by institutionalizing consultant, network, fellowship, and full-time employment opportunities for survivors. We believe that engaging survivors builds bridges between federal agencies, survivors, and victims, which will enhance agencies’ efforts to prosecute traffickers, protect victims, prevent future victimization, and promote survivors’ lasting prosperity.

Taking a Two-Generation/Whole Family Approach

We encourage PITF agencies that are working with and on behalf of survivors to work with them through the lens of their whole family. Whole families must be considered in helping survivors overcome and heal. Many survivors have children who have been negatively affected by their parent’s trafficking experience and what they have seen and heard. We must lift up parents and children together with services and supports that will help them be safe, find financial stability, and be empowered to find new opportunities. With recent studies suggesting one in seven children have mental health needs and half do not receive treatment,* it is imperative, when supporting families, to also address the needs of survivors’ children. We must offer services that help children heal to break intergenerational cycles of victimization.

*Source: Whitney, D. G. & Peterson, M. D. (2019). U.S. national and state-level prevalence of mental health disorders and disparities of mental health care use in children. Retrieved from 


As members of the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, we are hopeful for the future and believe considerable progress has been made by U.S. government agencies to combat human trafficking and to fully integrate survivors and survivor-led organizations into interagency responses. During our term, we will continue to seek ways to elevate best practices as well as identify areas for improvement. We will continue to call upon federal agencies to sustain and institutionalize practices that bring survivors’ ideas and voices to the table—from developing awareness campaigns to training law enforcement and providing technical assistance to domestic and international grantees. We will also continue to advocate that U.S. government agencies increase awareness and provide more support for underserved survivors and victims, so that all survivors have a fair chance for renewal, rebuilding, and long-term self-sufficiency.

“To my fellow human trafficking survivors, it was never your fault no matter what, so let go of the toxic shame—it doesn’t belong to you. You are never too old, too lost, or too broken to begin healing today. Hope is the key and even if it starts out as small as a mustard seed, nurture hope—it will save you. And most importantly—you are not alone, you are not alone, you are not alone.”
– Robert Lung, Member, U.S. Advisory Council

Appendix A: Relevant Anti-Trafficking Laws

Below are federal laws that support U.S. efforts to combat human trafficking.

01/09/2019: Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2017[21]

01/08/2019: Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2018[22]

12/21/2018: Abolish Human Trafficking Act of 2017[23]

12/21/2018: Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2017[24]

05/29/2015: Survivors of Human Trafficking Empowerment Act (Section 115 of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015)[25]

03/07/2013: Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2013 (Title XII of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013)[26]

12/23/2008: William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008[27]

01/10/2006: Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005[28]

12/19/2003: Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003[29]

05/27/2003: United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003[30]

04/30/2003: Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to End the Exploitation of Children Today Act of 2003 (PROTECT Act)[31]

10/28/2000: Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000[32]

Appendix B: Acronyms

Below are the acronyms used throughout this annual report, including acronyms of the government agencies with which the Council met in the report’s preparation:

DHS: United States Department of Homeland Security

DOJ: United States Department of Justice

DOJ/OVC: United States Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime

DOS: United States Department of State

DOS/TIP Office: United States Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

EEOC: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

HHS: United States Department of Health and Human Services

HHS/ANA: United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Native Americans

HHS/CB: United States Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau

HHS/FYSB: United States Department of Health and Human Services, Family and Youth Services Bureau

HHS/ORR: United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement

HHS/OTIP: United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Trafficking in Persons

LGBTQI: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex

NGO: Nongovernmental organization

PITF: President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

SPOG: Senior Policy Operating Group

USAID: United States Agency for International Development

“This movement was born from the pain, hurt, abuse, strength, passion, and courage of many survivors who had a voice, but were not heard. With allies, our efforts grew, but we cannot forget its purpose. To truly care and support survivors, we have to consciously and effortlessly always have them at the table—so we learn and grow from each other. As survivors, our actions should not divide us, but should unite us so we can lead and help each other learn and grow this movement. We share a bond of understanding of the evils in this world. Working together, we can create opportunity and change for us all.”
– Tina Frundt, Member, U.S. Advisory Council


[1] The SPOG consists of senior officials designated as representatives of the PITF.

[2] President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. (2017). Report on U.S. Government efforts to combat trafficking in persons. Retrieved from

[3] Even without evidence of force, fraud, or coercion, U.S. criminal law prohibits the recruitment or use of child soldiers in specific circumstances. See 18 U.S.C. 2442.

[4] Swarens, T. (2018). Boys—The silent victims of sex trafficking. Retrieved from 

[5] Jones, S. V. (2010). The invisible man: The conscious neglect of men and boys in the war on human trafficking, Utah L. Rev. 1143. Retrieved from 

[6] Curtis, R., Terry, K., Dank, M., Dombrowski, K., & Khan, B. (2008). The commercial sexual exploitation of children in New York City. Retrieved from 

[7] The Field Center. (2018). Human trafficking prevalence and child welfare risk factors among homeless youth: A multi-city study. Retrieved from 

[8] Swaner, R., Labriola, M., Rempel, M., Walker, A., & Spadafore, J. (2016). Youth involvement in the sex trade: A national study. Retrieved from 

[9] Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute. (n.d.). Fast facts on Native American youth and Indian country. Retrieved from ; Fostering Together (n.d.). The crisis facing Native American youth. Retrieved from 

[10] See footnotes 4-6; Feehs, K., & Richmond, J. C. (2017). 2107 Federal human trafficking report. Retrieved from 

[11] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Child Welfare Information Gateway. Retrieved from 

[12] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative. Retrieved from 

[13] U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. (2017). Annual report 2017. Retrieved from

[14] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2017). Native youth toolkit on human trafficking. Retrieved from 

[15] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). Strategic plan FY 2018 – 2022. Retrieved from 

[16] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). CDC adds new human trafficking data collection fields for health care providers. Retrieved from 

[17] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2019). Human Trafficking Leadership Academy. Retrieved from 

[18] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). Toolkit for building survivor-informed organizations. Retrieved from 

[19] U.S. Office of Personnel Management. (n.d.). Presidential Management Fellows program. Retrieved from; National Security Education Program. (n.d.). Boren Fellowships basics. Retrieved from 

[20] U.S. Department of Justice. (n.d.). Faces of human trafficking. Retrieved from ; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Look beneath the surface. Retrieved from 













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