The Obama Administration’s Record on Human Trafficking Issues
Today, the White House will hold a Forum to Combat Human Trafficking to highlight the significant progress this Administration has made to combat human trafficking, including developments since President Obama delivered his seminal speech on the fight to end trafficking in persons at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in September 2012. During that speech, President Obama announced a number of new Administration commitments to combat trafficking at home and abroad. The four elements of this strategy include:
1) Preventing trafficking by raising awareness among vulnerable populations, leading by example, and educating the public and first responders;
2) Prosecuting traffickers through strengthened investigations and enforcement tools;
3) Protecting survivors through comprehensive social services, family reintegration, and immigration services; and
4) Partnering with civil society, state and local government, the private sector, and faith-based organizations to maximize resources and outcomes.
This White House Forum to Combat Human Trafficking brings together advocates, service providers, researchers and academics, business leaders, faith leaders, leaders in the technology community, law enforcement, and local, state and federal government leaders to discuss strategies for countering trafficking in persons.
This Forum will highlight key efforts since the President’s September speech.
• Using Technology to Fight Trafficking. Today, the Administration will present new public-private partnerships that will provide cutting edge technology tools to aid law enforcement’s efforts to bring traffickers to justice, as well as new online applications to help link victims with much needed services. Stemming from a convening held by the White House Office of Science and Technology and the Council on Women and Girls, leading technology companies have partnered with advocates and survivors to develop new online applications to reach trafficking victims online and on their phones and link them with services in their community. The Administration will also present new private sector partnerships in support of law enforcement efforts to combat child sex trafficking in three major jurisdictions, as well research and tools to help law enforcement better identify children sold online.
• Strategic Action Plan for Victims Services. Today, the Administration will release for public comment the first-ever federal strategic action plan to coordinate and strengthen services for trafficking victims in the United States. This comprehensive, 5-year plan is action-oriented and time-specific and embraces a collaborative approach that promises to improve services for victims of trafficking throughout the federal government.
• Presidential Award. Today, the Department of State will award the inaugural “Presidential Award for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons.”
• Partnering with Faith-based and Neighborhood Organizations. The President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships is working on recommendations in which the federal government can best partner with faith-based and secular organizations to combat human trafficking.
• Pro Bono Legal Services Network for Trafficking Victims. Today, the Department of State will announce a public-private partnership with New Perimeter, LLC, a non-profit organization established by the law firm DLA Piper designed to increase the availability of pro bono legal services to combat human trafficking. The partnership will use the “3P” framework of prosecuting traffickers, protecting survivors, and preventing victimization, which is reflected in the UN’s Palermo Protocol and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
• Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking Activities in the Federal Supply Chain. In September 2012, President Obama signed Executive Order (EO) 13627, which strengthens protections against federal contractors and subcontractors engaging in human trafficking-related activities. The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council), which is developing implementing regulations, held a public meeting on March 5, 2012. The FAR Council also has received written comments from the public on the implementation of EO 13627, as well as on the End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act, which was passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012.
• Better Data and Better Allocation of Resources with Domestic Human Trafficking Assessment. The Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center, an interagency clearinghouse for information related to human smuggling and trafficking, continues to collect data from more than a dozen federal agencies to develop a domestic human trafficking assessment. This first-ever, interagency human trafficking assessment will help the Federal Government allocate law enforcement and other resources by identifying existing and emerging hotspots for trafficking activity across the United States and revealing trends and patterns in victim recruitment and exploitation.
• Reauthorizing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. In February, the President signed into law the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2013 (TVPRA), which was passed by Congress as part of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Thanks to the leadership of key Members of Congress, the TVPRA will offer increased support to the State Department’s diplomatic engagement, bolster protections for vulnerable children and domestic workers, and enable effective partnerships to bring services to survivors and prosecute traffickers.
• “T” Visa Regulations. The Department of Homeland Security announced that it will publish an interim final rule to amend the “T” nonimmigrant visa regulations, which allow victims to remain in the United States and aid the prosecution of their traffickers. The amendments will streamline the application process and reflect statutory amendments made by the reauthorizations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
• Counter-Trafficking in Persons Field Guide for Strengthened Programming. USAID released a Counter-Trafficking in Persons Field Guide to provide practical guidance to develop, administer and evaluate investments that implement the Agency’s 2012 C-TIP Policy. The Guide will also help educate USAID Mission personnel and partners about trafficking more broadly and includes recommendations for integrating counter-trafficking activities into larger development programs, tools for designing stand-alone counter-trafficking activities, and evaluation techniques. It also provides USAID personnel with instruction on how to report suspected trafficking violations committed by employees, contractors, and grant recipients to the Agency's Office of the Inspector General for investigation and action.