Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Announces Justice Department Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking
Department Strategy Supports National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking
Fairview Heights, IllL (STL.News) U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today released the Justice Department’s new National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking pursuant to the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.
Rooted in the foundational pillars and priorities of the interagency National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, which President Biden released on Dec. 3, 2021, 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.”
“I am especially proud of our office’s efforts to combat the scourge of human trafficking,” said United States Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft. “Over the past year, we have built a Human Trafficking Task Force that has grown to almost 100 members. We have been particularly effective providing training and outreach on labor trafficking, child abuse, and victims’ response to trauma.” The U.S. Attorney’s Office also hosted an event featuring “Truckers Against Trafficking” to raise awareness to the indicators of human trafficking.
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.
The department’s strategy will be implemented under the direction of the National Human Trafficking Coordinator designated by the Attorney General in accordance with the Abolish Human Trafficking Act of 2017.