Federal Agencies

“Coordinating anti-human trafficking efforts at the federal level is crucial to ensuring victims receive comprehensive services.”

The Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of human trafficking

The Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States, 2013-2017, was developed to unify and focus federal agencies in the fight against human trafficking. The comprehensive strategic plan outlines four actionable goals:

  • to coordinate federal agencies
  • to improve understanding of the issue
  • to expand access to services
  • to improve outcomes and trauma-informed care

Below are the federal agencies that have taken action to implement the FSAP.

Department of Health and Human Services

The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Program (ATIP)identifies and serves victims of human trafficking, assisting foreign trafficking victims in the United States to become eligible for public benefits and services to the same extent as refugees.  The program also raises awareness of human trafficking through the HHS Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking campaign.”

Department of Homeland Security

Human Smuggling and Trafficking Unit investigates human trafficking cases particularly involving foreign nationals trafficked into the U.S. and collaborates with the Department of Justice. To report any suspected trafficking activity, call 1-866-347-2423 (toll free, within U.S.)

DHS launched The Blue Campaign in 2010 to improve awareness, trauma-based training, victim identification and assistance, and law enforcement. Its catalog of resources- pamphlets, posters, shoe-cards, and info sheets- can be found here.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement claims responsibility “for investigating human trafficking, arresting traffickers and protecting victims.”

Child Exploitation Investigations Unit/Operation Predator investigates crimes of child sexual exploitation, child pornography, and child sex tourism in the U.S. and abroad. The agency operates 200 offices in the U.S. and 70 overseas.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) “processes immigration relief through Continued Presence (CP), T visas, and U visas to victims of human trafficking and other designated crimes.” Lawyers and advocates may check on the status of an already submitted case by calling the VAWA Unit Helpline at: 802-527-4888.

Department of Justice

Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force Initiative, supported by the DOJ Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), seeks to train law enforcement to identify and rescue trafficking victims and has convened 42 task forces to increase local, state, and federal, and NGO collaboration.

Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) offers criminal justice data, including information on human trafficking crimes, for further analysis by the BJA, government groups, and anti-trafficking advocates.

Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) is expert in prosecuting child exploitation and sex tourism, child pornography, parental kidnapping, international child trafficking and abduction, and high-technology child exploitation crimes.

Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit (HTPU), established in 2007 by the BJA, prosecutes human trafficking cases and guides lawyers prosecuting cases across overlapping criminal networks.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Civil Rights investigates crimes of human trafficking and offers victim assistance, like repatriation, housing and employment options, and immigration relief.

Crimes Against Children (CAC) Innocence Lost Initiative investigates domestic sex trafficking of children in the U.S.

National Institute of Justice (NIJ): Funds research on human trafficking- its nature, extent, detection, prosecution, and victim services.

Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces (ICAC), supported by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), assists law enforcement in combating technology-facilitated child exploitation through forensic investigation, technical assistance, victim support, and community engagement.

Office of Victims of Crime (OVC): Provides technical assistance to the Anti-Human Trafficking Task Forces, funds comprehensive victim services to dozens of coalitions, programs, and law enforcement groups.

Department of Labor

International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB): Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor and Human Trafficking focuses on research, policy engagement and technical cooperation to advance the elimination of international child labor, forced labor and human trafficking. It offers a toolkit for responsible businesses here.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) “conducts research and makes recommendations to prevent worker injury and illness, providing practical solutions to identified problems.”

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) seeks to ensure “safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.”

Wage and Hour Division (WHD) enforces compliance with federal labor standards, such as minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. It also oversees violations of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act and aids human trafficking investigations involving violations of these protections.

Department of State

Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP) “pursues policies, partnerships, and practices that uphold the ‘3P’ paradigm of prosecuting traffickers, protecting victims, and preventing trafficking,” with an emphasis on international governments’ progress. Among its sub-divisions:

Reports and Political Affairs seeks to “engage foreign governments regarding human trafficking issues”  and produces the annual Trafficking in Persons Report, which ranks over 188 countries, including the U.S., on their anti-trafficking efforts.

Public Engagement manages media, government, and NGO outreach to increase public awareness and collective action. It offers a list of resources and information for individuals in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant work or travel visa.

Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center centralizes the efforts of the DOS, DOJ, DHS, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The Center produces strategic assessments related to smuggling and trafficking, coordinates select initiatives, and recommends specific interagency collaborations.