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     Human Trafficking - Services for Survivors

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 is the first comprehensive federal law to address trafficking in persons. The law provides a three-pronged approach that includes prevention, protection, and prosecution. The TVPA was reauthorized through the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2003, 2005, 2008, 2013, and 2015. The Act authorized the establishment of the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and the President's Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to assist in the coordination of anti-trafficking efforts.

Under U.S. federal law, "severe forms of trafficking in persons" includes both sex trafficking and labor trafficking:

  • Sex Trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age (22 USC § 7102).

  • Labor Trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery, (22 USC § 7102).

During 2017, more than 8,500 cases of potential human trafficking were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, a resource supported by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Approximately 71% were cases of sex trafficking and 15% were cases of labor trafficking with minors accounting for approximately 29% of all trafficking cases reported to the hotline.

The Department of Justice's anti-trafficking efforts involve numerous components engaged in investigating and prosecuting human trafficking crimes, stabilizing and supporting trafficking victims, and expanding outreach and training. The Civil Rights Division, Criminal Division, U.S. Attorneys' Offices, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Office of Justice Programs all play important roles in the Department's broad-based anti-trafficking efforts. Many of these components contain multiple offices or sections that each work on different aspects of the fight against human trafficking. OJP's Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) helps victims find local programs, helplines, compensation programs and more. OVC provides resources for U.S. citizens both inside the U.S. and abroad as well as international victims. One such resource is a searchable database that allows victims to search by type of crime, such as human trafficking.

The Office of Justice Programs' Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) funds the Specialized Services and Mentoring for Child and Youth Victims of Sex Trafficking Initiative to increase the availability of direct support services for children and youth who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation, facilitate outreach efforts, and develop organizations' capacities to mentor this vulnerable population.

With OJJDP support, the Youth Collaboratory developed a toolkit for youth service providers to build their understanding of the commercial sexual exploitation of child. The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, with OJJDP support, has developed the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Child Sex Trafficking to help judicial officers better understand the dynamics of domestic child sex trafficking, the applicable laws and legal considerations involving trafficking victims, how to identify trafficked and at-risk children, and how to connect these youth to appropriate services. The OJJDP Missing and Exploited Children Training and Technical Assistance Program provides multi-disciplinary training and technical assistance to prosecutors, state and local law enforcement and child protection personnel, medical providers, and other child-serving professionals to strengthen multidisciplinary responses to and improve prosecution of child victimization cases. 

Since 1998, OJJDP has supported the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force program, which operates a national network of 61 multiagency, multijurisdictional task forces engaged in investigations, forensic examinations, and prosecutions related to technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation. OJJDP also support the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), which serves as an information clearinghouse and resource for those who are searching for missing children and working to address child victimization and sexual exploitation. The center operates a 24-hour toll-free Missing Children's Hotline and a CyberTipline. In 2017, NCMEC responded to over 10,000 reports regarding possible cases of child sex trafficking.

See these human trafficking survivor resources:

Services and Task Forces MapAccess to Victim Services

The OVC Human Trafficking site provides access to a searchable matrix of services for trafficking victims — including outreach, legal/court advocacy, specialized, mental health, emergency shelter and intensive case management — from organizations that are funded by OVC and Bureau of Justice Assistance grants. Also see the Services and Task Forces Map for easy access to this program information.

Additional Resources for Help

Following are examples of websites that provide information and resources on human trafficking: