The Justice Department has renewed its commitment to investigating and prosecuting human traffickers, protecting victims, and preventing human trafficking from happening, DOJ says. The National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, announced last year by Attorney General Merrick Garland, laid out a multi-year strategy to combat all forms of human trafficking. “As the Justice Department’s National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking recognizes, an effective response to human trafficking requires collaboration across government and beyond. Most important, it requires listening to victims and survivors and incorporating their perspectives into everything we do,” Garland said.
DOJ says it has taken significant actions to implement the strategy, which include launching an interagency Forced Labor Initiative to enhance the detection, investigation, and prosecution of federal criminal labor violations. A departmental working group will review current policies, procedures, practices and trainings to ensure that the department is avoiding inappropriate arrest and punishment of human trafficking victims. A working group of victim assistant specialists regularly meets to support vulnerable victims. It will partner with 200 federal, state, and local agencies through Operation Cross Country XII. DOJ will develop comprehensive training on human trafficking and gender-based violence for Bureau of Prisons staff to identify and respond to potential indicators of human trafficking. A nearly $1 million award from the Office for Victims of Crime will assist anti-trafficking grantees. A $979,022 award from the National Institute of Justice to the National Opinion Research Center will fund a 48-month multisite process and outcome evaluation to combat human trafficking. Legislative proposals will be developed to amend existing statutes to combat human trafficking, assist victims, and increase prosecution of perpetrators.