Government Initiatives to Fight Human Trafficking

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Because human trafficking is a growing problem, government entities in the United States are stepping up with new and more aggressive initiatives to thwart traffickers. For example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has several initiatives in place to fight various types of human trafficking including forced labor, domestic service, and sexual exploitation. These initiatives include the following:

  • The FBI works directly with law enforcement and victim advocacy groups in order to bring together resources and create task forces to find and stop human trafficking. As of this writing, the FBI has more than 85 different task forces located throughout the United States. (FBI)
  • The FBI has a team of victim specialists from victim assistance groups as well as the US Attorney’s Office to provide victims with the support, counseling, and the medical attention they need. The victim specialists can also help with repatriation, education, housing, and job training so that victims can move on to a normal life.
  • The FBI works with the Human Smuggling Trafficking Center as a part of the Department of Homeland Security. The center, working with agencies like the FBI, CIA, and Department of State, gather information and provide investigators with analyses on current human trafficking issues.

In addition, the FBI works on determining statistics and information on human trafficking throughout the world. They aggressively investigate human trafficking incidents so that traffickers can be prosecuted and so that information can be used to stop future cases. Finally, the FBI works with community groups to build strong anti-human trafficking relationships and give information for further awareness.

From 2009 to 2012 alone, the FBI was able to prosecute 459 human trafficking cases that included 480 arrests, 258 convictions, and 336 indictments. This is an aggressive campaign to attempt a stop to human trafficking in the United States as well as the rest of the world. And, it has been providing some changes.

The FBI has set up a National Human Trafficking Resource Center that can be reached at 888-373-7888 where possible incidents can be reported, people can get more information, and victims can get assistance. As human trafficking becomes more of an issue throughout the world, it is vital that more government entities step up to the fight. This is why the FBI has created so many different initiatives in an attempt to stop trafficking from continuing and growing.
How States Are Fighting Back

While human traffickers don’t mind breaking laws, the more laws in place throughout the United States, the easier it is for authorities to crack down on the criminals. Of course, the harsher the punishment, the more of a chance traffickers will walk away from their activities. The federal government does have anti-human trafficking laws in place, but states are adopting their own policies as well. Not every state currently has statutes against trafficking, but many of them are adopting changes on a regular basis. At the time of this writing, these laws include the following: (NCSL)

  • Alabama – Human trafficking is defined and penalties are set in place.
  • Arizona – Those convicted of human trafficking are not eligible for suspended sentences or probation. Human trafficking of a minor has a minimum sentence of 30 years and sex offender registration.
  • Arkansas – Human trafficking has specific probation and parole terms.
  • California – Anyone seeking prostitute services from a minor face additional fines. Forced labor and human trafficking is considered a felony.
  • Colorado – Human trafficking is defined. Trafficking of children is a felony. Smuggling humans into the state is a felony.
  • Connecticut – Extra penalties are enacted for prostitution of children.
  • Delaware – Trafficking of humans is a felony.
  • Florida – Human trafficking is specifically a crime and sex trafficking is a felony.
  • Idaho – Human trafficking is considered criminal gang activity. Human trafficking has harsher penalties.
  • Illinois – Human trafficking is defined and mandatory restitutions are required.
  • Iowa – A brothel is a criminal offense. Human trafficking is a felony.
  • Kansas – Human traffickers must register as sex offenders. Human trafficking has special criminal procedures.
  • Kentucky – Human trafficking is a felony crime.
  • Louisiana – Human trafficking is defined and exploitation of children has harsher penalties.
  • Maryland – Human trafficking is covered by gang laws and is a felony.
  • Massachusetts – Human trafficking is defined and comes with a sentence of 20 years and a fine of $25,000.
  • Michigan – Human trafficking is a felony.
  • Minnesota – Human trafficking and sex trafficking carries harsher penalties.
  • Mississippi – Human trafficking requires a 20 year prison sentence.
  • Missouri – Child trafficking is a felony. Human trafficking comes with 10 to 100 years in prison.
  • Montana – Human trafficking can come with a $100,000 fine and up to 100 years in prison.
  • Nevada – Human trafficking is a felony.
  • New Jersey – Human trafficking is a first degree crime.
  • North Carolina – Human trafficking is a felony.
  • Oklahoma – Human trafficking can be handled under racketeering laws.
  • Pennsylvania – Human trafficking is considered racketeering.
  • Rhode Island – A fine of no less than $40,000 is required in human trafficking cases.
  • South Dakota – Human trafficking carries much higher penalties than other crimes.
  • Texas – Trafficking is a second degree felony.
  • Vermont – A whole set of criminal penalties are designed just for human trafficking.
  • Virginia – Trafficking is a class two felony.
  • Washington – Sex trafficking is a first and second degree crime.

As you can see, states are working to make a difference in the rampant problem of human trafficking.

Resources:

http://www.ncsl.org/

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/human_trafficking/initiatives

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