On Monday, United States Attorney General Merrick Garland released the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) new National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking.
Rooted in the foundational pillars and priorities of the interagency National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, which President Biden released in December, the Justice Department’s National Strategy is expansive in scope.
It aims to enhance the department’s capacity to prevent human trafficking; to prosecute human trafficking cases; and to support and protect human trafficking victims and survivors.
“Human trafficking is an insidious crime,” said Attorney General Garland. “Traffickers exploit and endanger some of the most vulnerable members of our society and cause their victims unimaginable harm. The Justice Department’s new National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking will bring the full force of the Department to this fight.”
With an estimated 24.9 million victims worldwide at any given time, human traffickers often prey on adults and children of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities, exploiting them for their own profit.
In the United States, people are often forced into commercial sex trades, or other industrial sectors, like hospitality, salon services, massage parlors, and drug smuggling operations, the U.S. Department of State website details.
Among other things, the Justice Department’s multi-year strategy to combat all forms of human trafficking will:
- Strengthen engagement, coordination and joint efforts to combat human trafficking by prosecutors in all 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and by federal law enforcement agents nationwide.
- Establish federally-funded, locally-led anti-human trafficking task forces that support sustained state law enforcement leadership and comprehensive victim assistance.
- Step up departmental efforts to end forced labor by increasing attention, resources and coordination in labor trafficking investigations and prosecutions.
- Enhance initiatives to reduce vulnerability of American Indians and Alaska Natives to violent crime, including human trafficking, and to locate missing children.
- Develop and implement new victim screening protocols to identify potential human trafficking victims during law enforcement operations and encourage victims to share important information.
- Increase capacity to provide victim-centered assistance to trafficking survivors, including by supporting efforts to deliver financial restoration to victims.
- Expand dissemination of federal human trafficking training, guidance and expertise.
- Advance innovative demand-reduction strategies.