Alison Siskin Specialist in Immigration Policy
Liana Sun Wyler Analyst in International Crime and Narcotics
in persons (TIP) for the purposes of exploitation is believed to be one of the
most prolific areas of contemporary international criminal activity and is
of significant interest to the United States and the international
community as a serious human rights concern. TIP is both an international
and a domestic crime that involves violations of labor, public health, and
human rights standards, and criminal law.
In general, the trafficking business feeds on conditions of vulnerability, such
as youth, gender, poverty, ignorance, social exclusion, political
instability, and ongoing demand. Actors engaged in human trafficking range
from amateur family-run organizations to sophisticated transnational organized
crime syndicates. Trafficking victims are often subjected to mental and
physical abuse in order to control them, including debt bondage, social
isolation, removal of identification cards and travel documents, violence,
and fear of reprisals against them or their families. According to the
International Labor Organization (ILO), some 20.9 million individuals today are
estimated to be victims of forced labor, including TIP. As many as 17,500
people are believed to be trafficked into the United States each year, and
some have estimated that 100,000 U.S. citizen children are victims of
trafficking within the United States.
Human trafficking is of great concern to the United States and the
international community. Anti- TIP efforts have accelerated in the United
States since the enactment of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence
Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA, P.L. 106-386) and internationally since the
passage of the U.N. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking
in Persons, adopted in 2000. Through the Trafficking Victims Protection
Act of 2000 (TVPA, Division A of P.L. 106-386) and its reauthorizations
(TVPRAs), Congress has aimed to eliminate human trafficking by creating international
and domestic grant programs for both victims and law enforcement, creating new criminal
laws, and conducting oversight on the effectiveness and implications of U.S.
anti-TIP policy. Most recently, the TVPA was reauthorized through FY2011
in the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization
Act of 2008 (TVPRA of 2008, P.L. 110-457).
The United States engages in anti-TIP efforts internationally and domestically.
The bulk of U.S. anti-trafficking programs abroad is administered by the
State Department, United States Agency for International Development, and
Department of Labor. In keeping with U.S. anti-trafficking policy, these
programs have emphasized prevention, protection, and prosecution (the three “Ps”). Prevention
programs have combined public awareness and education campaigns with education and
employment opportunities for those at risk of trafficking, particularly women
and girls. Protection programs have involved direct support for shelters,
as well as training of local service providers, public officials, and
religious groups. Programs to improve the prosecution rates of traffickers
have helped countries draft or amend existing anti-TIP laws, as well as
provided training for law enforcement and judiciaries to enforce those
laws. However, it is difficult to evaluate the impact of international
U.S. anti-trafficking efforts since few reliable measures of TIP have been
Domestically, anti-TIP efforts also include protection for victims, education
of the public, and the investigation and prosecution of trafficking
offenses. The Departments of Justice (DOJ), Health and Human Services
(HHS), and Labor (DOL) have programs or administer grants to other entities
to provide assistance specific to the needs of victims of trafficking. These
needs include temporary housing, independent living skills, cultural
orientation, transportation needs, job training, mental health counseling,
and legal assistance. Both HHS and the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) administer public awareness campaigns on recognizing
human trafficking victims. In addition, within the United States at the
federal level, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in DOJ and
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in DHS both have primary
responsibility for investigating and prosecuting traffickers.
Some of the issues surrounding U.S. policy to combat human trafficking include
whether there is equal treatment of all victims—both foreign nationals and
U.S. citizens (USCs), as well as victims of labor and sex trafficking;
whether current law and services are adequate to deal with the emerging
issue of minor sex trafficking in the United States (i.e., the prostitution of
children in the United States); and whether U.S. efforts to stem human
trafficking internationally are efficacious, especially with the use of
the TIP report and aid restrictions.
In addition, the current budget situation has heightened interest in Congress
on the funding and oversight of current efforts to fight TIP, to make sure
that the grant programs authorized under the TVPA as amended do not
duplicate efforts and that funding is being used in the most efficacious manner.
Obligations for global and domestic anti-TIP programs, not including operations
and law enforcement investigations, totaled approximately $109.5 million
in FY2010. The TVPRA of 2008 authorized $191.3 million in global and
domestic anti-TIP programs for FY2011.
Authorizations for the grant programs under TVPA expired at the end of FY2011.
On February 12, 2013, the Senate passed S. 47. Among other things, S. 47
would modify some of the grant programs, expand reporting requirements,
create new criminal penalties for trafficking offenses, and reauthorize
appropriations from FY2014 through FY2017.
See also CRS Report R41878, Sex Trafficking of Children in the United
States: Overview and Issues for Congress, by Kristin M. Finklea,
Adrienne L. Fernandes-Alcantara, and Alison Siskin; and CRS Report R42497,
Trafficking in Persons: International Dimensions and Foreign Policy Issues
for Congress, by Liana Sun Wyler.
Date of Report: Febrary 27, 2013
Number of Pages: 68 Order Number: RL34317 Price: $29.95
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