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Policy & Legislative Recommendations to Improve Protection and Assistance for Foreign National Victims of Human Trafficking

By USCRI January 25, 2021

As we welcome a new presidential administration in the United States, we too welcome the opportunity for increasing our knowledge, action and responsiveness on human trafficking, particularly for the protection and assistance of victims.

In the United States, the scope of both domestic and foreign-national human trafficking is significant. Although the exact figures are unknown, most estimates converge on tens of thousands to low hundreds of thousands of new cases annually. 1 While most victims are not identified, the small portion who are highlight the magnitude of the crime in the United States: between October 2017 and March 2019, the National Human Trafficking Hotline received 178,911 calls, texts, chats, online tips, and emails, identified 16,862 potential human trafficking cases, and provided 14,419 referrals for services. 2

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 and its subsequent reauthorizations of 2003, 2005, 2008, 2013, and 2017, provide the framework for approaching human trafficking under U.S. law.3 Under the TVPA, human trafficking occurs when a person is induced to perform labor or a commercial sex act through force, fraud, or coercion. Any person under the age of 18 who performs a commercial sex act is considered a victim of human trafficking, regardless of whether force, fraud, or coercion was present. Domestic victims of human trafficking are eligible for assistance via the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office for Victims of Crime (OVC).4 Foreign national victims of human trafficking are eligible for federal assistance through the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Trafficking Victim Assistance Program (TVAP), which is overseen by USCRI through a network of approximately 200 sub-grantees. 5 TVAP assists victims to pursue a path to long-term self-sufficiency through provision of social services. The program also fills gaps when the adverse effects of trafficking would otherwise render victims ineligible for assistance, such as those who do not have immigration status or fall out of immigration compliance as a result of their traffickers’ actions. While in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, the top countries of origin were the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, and the Philippines, TVAP participants came from over 80 countries, demonstrating the particularly global impact of this crime.6

Read the full report…USCRI_Trafficking_Victim_Recommendations_New_Admin_Jan_2021


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