“As a nation, we must require serious consequence and accountability for those who commit these crimes. And we must work to stop these crimes before they happen.”
“Our plan centers on the key pillars of U.S. and global anti-trafficking efforts: prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships…There is a clear line that runs throughout our Administration’s work: We are focused on the most vulnerable.”
– Vice President Kamala Harris
On January 25, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration convened its first meeting of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (PITF). A cabinet-level entity created by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, the PITF has primary responsibility for coordinating efforts across 20 Federal agencies to combat trafficking in persons, and implementing the recently released National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. PITF members were also joined by the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, which provides advice and recommendations on Federal anti-trafficking policies.
The new National Action Plan, released in December 2021, is a comprehensive and forward-looking strategy with over 60 priority actions focused on the foundational pillars of U.S. and global anti-trafficking efforts – prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships.
Human trafficking disproportionately impacts persons of color, women and girls, LGBTQI+ individuals, migrants, and others from historically marginalized and underserved communities. In an effort to link anti-trafficking strategies to the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader efforts to advance equity and support for underserved communities, the National Action Plan emphasizes the Administration’s commitment to promoting gender and racial equity, advancing workers’ rights, preventing and addressing forced labor in global supply chains, and ensuring safe, orderly, and humane migration.
- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the establishment of the HHS Task Force to Prevent Human Trafficking, which will focus on expanding access to services for survivors, preventing forced labor in health care supply chains, and building scientific understanding of the intersections between public health and human trafficking, among other initiatives.
- The Senior Policy Operating Group, consisting of senior officials from across the U.S. government, established a working group in 2021 that will analyze the rights and protections granted to temporary employment-based visa holders and develop solutions for addressing gaps.
- Last year, the Department of Commerce (DOC), in collaboration with the Departments of State and Labor, launched a new coordination group to develop innovative approaches to combating forced labor in the seafood industry.
- In December 2021, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) released its revised policy to counter trafficking in persons (C-TIP). USAID will use this policy to promote trauma-informed and survivor-centered approaches in C-TIP programming to empower survivors.
- The Department of Defense launched a Student Guide to Preventing Human Trafficking to inform military-connected high school students about human trafficking, with a focus on how human trafficking is occurring in student settings.
- DHS designated a senior accountable official to prevent human trafficking in DHS contracts and acquisitions.
- The Department of Labor (DOL) will provide additional trauma- and survivor-informed awareness and referral training to DOL investigators nationwide in order to combat forced labor and abusive labor practices.
- The Department of Education will launch a series of webinars to inform the education community about recognizing, understanding, and preventing human trafficking in and around school environments.
- The Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force, chaired by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), will work to implement the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act by developing a strategy for supporting enforcement of Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 to prohibit the importation of goods made by forced labor from the People’s Republic of China.
- In December 2021, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced almost $87 million in funding to combat human trafficking, provide supportive services to trafficking victims throughout the United States, and conduct research into the nature and causes of labor and sex trafficking. This includes approximately $15 million to provide safe, stable housing and appropriate services to victims of human trafficking.
- The Senior Policy Operating Group established a working group that will develop best practices in implementing screening forms and protocols for Federal officials who have the potential to encounter a human trafficking victim in the course of their regular duties.
- The Department of State (State) will launch a publicly available online training on understanding trauma and trauma-informed approaches, which will give anti-trafficking stakeholders tips for how to more successfully engage with survivors and potential victims of trafficking while mitigating the risk of re-traumatization. The training features a consultant from its Human Trafficking Expert Consultant Network, made up of individuals with lived experience of enduring human trafficking and other subject matter experts. State will also engage a Network consultant to develop a training for Federal agencies on conducting trauma-informed conversations and interviews with potential victims of trafficking.
- DOJ and HHS will launch a joint effort to develop evidence-based standards of care for trafficking victims to inform the provision of victim services across the country.
- DHS will incorporate a victim-centered approach into all policies and programs involving victims of crime.
- In 2021, DOJ launched Joint Task Force Alpha (JTFA), in partnership with DHS and other law enforcement agencies, to combat migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico. The Task Force is working within the United States and with our foreign partners to dismantle criminal networks that engage in human trafficking and subject smuggled migrants to dangerous, abusive, and exploitive conditions.
- Last year, DHS detained more shipments of goods (in value and number) made by forced labor than in any previous year, leading four separate international corporations to remediate forced labor conditions. DHS also initiated the first-ever criminal investigations to hold accountable companies and individuals who use forced labor to produce goods abroad.
- In April 2021, the Department of the Interior announced the formation of a new Missing & Murdered Unit within the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services to provide leadership and direction for cross-departmental and interagency work to resolve “cold cases” involving missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives and to address underlying causes, including human trafficking.
- In 2022, DOJ will release an intra-Departmental National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking to strengthen Department-wide anti-trafficking efforts and enhance the Department’s capacity to implement the National Action Plan. The forthcoming Strategy includes measures aimed at countering emerging labor trafficking threats, streamlining access to victim services, strengthening intelligence-driven targeting, and enhancing dissemination of specialized anti-trafficking expertise.
- In 2022, DOJ’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) will launch a new National Law Enforcement Training and Technical Assistance Consortium and will work to ensure that the Consortium addresses the intersection of human trafficking with domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking with a focus on tribal grantees and potential grantees. OVW’s comprehensive technical assistance project on prosecution will also incorporate training on this topic.
- Over the next year, the Intelligence Community (IC) will work to improve information sharing between the IC and Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement on human trafficking.
- The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) has increased engagement with the financial industry and civil society, including co-hosting a training with DOJ and DHS on identifying human trafficking in the gaming industry, and hosted a public-private partnership focusing on forced labor and supply chain due diligence. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued the first government-wide priorities for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism for the financial industry, which included initiatives focused on disrupting the illicit financial flows that enable human trafficking. Treasury will continue to engage and use all available tools to prevent human trafficking, protect survivors, and hold human traffickers accountable.
- The Department of Transportation (DOT) will continue working with stakeholders across all modes of transportation to combat human trafficking, educate transportation employees and the traveling public on the signs of human trafficking and how to report the crime, expand its Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking initiative and, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, expand training program for aviation personnel under the Blue Lightning Initiative. DOT will also reestablish the Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking to prepare and submit a triennial counter-trafficking report with recommendations, best practices, and human trafficking violations involving commercial motor vehicles in coordination with the Attorney General.
- DOC will develop training and guidance for U.S. companies and private-sector stakeholders on the use of forced labor in supply chains, including offering best practices to identify and address possible violations.
- The Office of Management and Budget will facilitate increased dialogue within the Federal government, as well as with the contractor community and non-governmental organizations, to better align our efforts to prevent and address trafficking in Federal procurement.
- As announced at the North American Leaders’ Summit in November 2021, the U.S. Government, led by the Department of State, will work with Canada and Mexico to restart the Trilateral Working Group on Trafficking in Persons and will promote legal pathways that encourage orderly, safe, and regular migration.
- In 2022, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative will continue to develop a trade strategy for combating forced labor, including in global supply chains, which will be shaped by an inclusive process allowing for public participation with key stakeholders, such as labor organizations, civil society, survivors, and businesses.
This fact sheet offers only a snapshot of the Administration’s accomplishments from 2021 and plans for 2022. Additional references:
- FACT Sheet on the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking
- U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking Annual Report 2021
- USAID Policy on Countering Trafficking in Persons (Released Dec. 14, 2021)
- Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government (Jan. 20, 2021)
- Executive Order 14020, Establishment of the White House Gender Policy Council (Mar. 8, 2021)
- Executive Order 14053, Improving Public Safety and Criminal Justice for Native Americans and Addressing the Crisis of Missing or Murdered Indigenous People (Nov. 15, 2021)
- Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory (Updated on July 13, 2021)
- G7 Trade Ministers’ Statement on Forced Labor (Released October 22, 2021)
- North American Leaders’ Summit – Key Deliverables
- Blue Lightning Initiative Training for Aviation Personnel and the Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking Initiative
- Attorney General Establishes Joint Task Force Alpha to Combat Human Smuggling and Trafficking in Central America (June 7, 2021)
- FACT Sheet: Summit for Democracy