Category: News

Washington, DC - Friday the White House released the 2021 National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, which lays out a broad-based, multi-disciplinary, whole-of-government approach to addressing this crime and its harmful impacts on crime victims, their communities and our national security. The Action Plan calls upon the U.S. Department of Justice and its partners across the Executive Branch to implement a number of Priority Actions to enhance U.S. efforts to combat human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is an insidious crime that impacts some of the most vulnerable people in our country and around the world,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Vindicating the rights of human trafficking victims and other vulnerable individuals ranks among the highest priorities of the Department of Justice. The department welcomes the issuance of this National Action Plan, which will streamline coordination among federal anti-trafficking partners, strengthening our ability to seek justice for victims and hold perpetrators accountable. We are committed to using every tool at our disposal to prevent human trafficking; increase detection, investigation and prosecution of human trafficking crimes; and expand support and services to protect and empower survivors.”

“Human trafficking is an intolerable affront to ideals of liberty, justice and individual rights that disproportionately impacts vulnerable individuals and marginalized communities, including people of color, migrants and refugees, LQBTQI+ people and people living with disabilities,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This National Action Plan, developed through extensive collaboration among leading anti-trafficking experts, reflects the Civil Rights Division's steadfast commitment to making our nation’s fight against human trafficking more effective than ever before. We will use every available tool to hold perpetrators of human trafficking accountable for their crimes while pursuing justice on behalf of survivors.”

“Human trafficking exploits adults and children at the most fundamental levels – targeting dignity, self-governance, even freedom,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “These are crimes that call upon our most fundamental instincts to protect survivors and prosecute offenders. Through this National Action Plan the Justice Department, alongside its public and private partners, commits once again to answer this call, re-focus our efforts and deliver justice.”

Attorney General Garland has already taken steps to deepen and strengthen the department’s work alongside our federal partners to assess the threat presented by human trafficking and mitigate the vulnerabilities that expose victims to exploitation and abuse. The department’s anti-trafficking experts worked closely with law enforcement and intelligence community agencies throughout 2021 to produce a comprehensive, interagency Human Trafficking Intelligence Assessment. This interagency Intelligence Assessment, finalized in July 2021, continues to inform Executive Branch policies, strategies and priorities in response to complex, evolving human trafficking threats.

Furthermore, in June 2021, the Attorney General launched Joint Task Force Alpha (JTFA), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies, to combat smuggling and trafficking in persons from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico. The Task Force is working within the United States and with our foreign partners to dismantle criminal networks that subject smuggled migrants to dangerous, abusive and exploitive conditions and that engage in human trafficking. 

The department is grateful to survivor experts, including the U.S. Advisory Council, and other stakeholders who were consulted for their expertise during the development of the National Action Plan. The plan emphasizes the use of victim-centered and trauma-informed approaches that are necessary for success in all of our anti-trafficking efforts. The department will play a lead role in implementing the following Priority Actions, among others: