New Federal Effort to Fight Human Trafficking Unveiled

Federal agencies announced a five-year plan to combat human trafficking on Tuesday, often called modern slavery for the kidnapping of people, often children, and bringing them into the United States.

In this Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 photograph, Kathleen Friess gives a presentation on human trafficking in Hamilton Township, N.J., for hotel and nightclub employees and tries to dispel notions of what human trafficking looks like. Often, Friess said, it’s a local woman forced into sex work by a man she initially thought had romantic intentions. Officials are training legions of law enforcement personnel, hospitality workers, high school students and airport employees to watch for signs of it before the Feb. 2 football game, when hundreds of thousands of people are expected to descend on New Jersey. (AP Photo/Mel Evans) AP Photo/Mel Evans

“It describes the steps that federal agencies will take to ensure that all victims of human trafficking in the United States are identified and have access to the services they need to recover and to rebuild their lives,” aid Cecilia Munoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, who announced the plan at a meeting at a meeting that included human trafficking survivors, law enforcement officials and federal and local government officials.

“This includes a victim services network that is comprehensive, trauma-informed, and responsive to the needs of all victims, regardless of the type of trafficking they endured, and regardless of race, color, national origin, disability, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or immigration status,” Munoz continued.

The plan was put together by three Justice Department, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security.

“Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons or modern day slavery, is an affront to the most basic of human freedoms,” said the Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States. “To combat this unspeakable crime and protect its victims, we build on more than a decade of progress in developing services and support networks that provide survivors of human trafficking with a path to freedom, independence, and self-sufficiency.”

The president previously declared January to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

The five-year plan calls for aligning law enforcement and counseling efforts at the federal, state and local level; expand research to “support evidence-based practices in victim services;” promote training to increase the ability to identify who might be a victim and to increase “effective, culturally appropriate, trauma-informed services that improve the short- and long-term health, safety, and well-being of victims.”

The plan goes on to say a goal is “recognizing that government alone cannot stop this insidious crime, the Plan is written to appeal to a wide audience in order to bring additional resources, expertise, and partnerships to end human trafficking and better support victims. For example, public awareness must be increased to engage more stakeholders and increase victim identification. There must also be an expansion of access to victim services.”

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