ATEST OMB Appropriations Letter for FY 2018
October 7th, 2016
The Honorable Shaun Donovan
Office of Management and Budget
Executive Office of the President
725 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20503
Dear Director Donovan,
On behalf of the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) and the undersigned organizations, we are writing to urge you to advise the President to request funds in the President’s fiscal year 2018 budget to combat human trafficking and forced labor in accordance with the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2013 (TVPRA, P.L. 113-4).
Since passage of the original Trafficking Victims Protection Act in 2000, Congress has overwhelmingly voted to reauthorize the Act in 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2013. Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world, generating over $150 billion in profits for traffickers per year, according to the International Labour Organization. Trafficking does not only affect vulnerable individuals abroad. Victims also include U.S. citizens and foreign nationals within the United States. Globally, trafficking affects children and adults who are trapped in forced labor and situations of commercial sexual exploitation, with little hope of escape. The U.S. Government has the opportunity to strengthen its leadership to combat human trafficking around the world by resourcing efforts to prevent this crime and provide comprehensive services to those who are victimized.
We understand the tremendous fiscal challenges the nation faces, and we appreciate the increased requests in certain accounts in the President’s FY2017 budget. However, during this time, we cannot lose sight of the needless human tragedies that are occurring within and beyond our borders. Modern slavery is the civil rights issue of our generation. We can only hope to eradicate it within our lifetime by dedicating the necessary resources to end this scourge.
Consistent with the Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States (2013-2017), ATEST strongly encourages agencies throughout the budget process to focus on a comprehensive, holistic response to the needs of victims of all forms of human trafficking, including sex and labor trafficking. ATEST recommends additional funds for agencies to effectively reach their objectives under the Strategic Action Plan, and for the drafting of a new Strategic Action Plan for 2018 to 2021. We describe below the critical need for funding across the federal government to curtail human trafficking and provide the resources necessary for survivors to rebuild their lives, both in the United States and around the world.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Office of Justice Programs / State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance
1. Victim Services Grants & Human Trafficking Task Forces
We request that funding for existing victim services grant programs at the Department of Justice remain within the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). OVC has done an efficient and effective job in administering existing victim services grants and OVC should retain this role without disruption.
We request $45,000,000 for victim services programs for victims of trafficking, for programs authorized by section 107(b)(2) of Public Law 106–386, and for programs authorized under Public Law 109–164 and Public Law 113–4. Due to the recent enactment of funding levels that exceed the authorized funding levels, we request accompanying statutory language to amend current law by increasing the authorized funding levels for this fiscal year to reflect this amount.
In addition, we request $22,000,000 for the Human Trafficking Task Forces, consistent with the FY2016 funding level, and ask that this be accompanied by statutory language authorizing this funding level within OVC’s victim services grants.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline reported a 524% increase in substantive calls since 2008, identifying 5,544 trafficking cases in the United States in 2015 alone. Robust resources are needed to ensure that as more survivors of trafficking come forward they receive appropriate responses and services.
2. Minor Victim Services Grants
We request $10,000,000 for Minor Victim Services Grants, of which $8,000,000 is for sex trafficked minors and $2,000,000 is for labor trafficked minors. We further request that the budget contain additional statutory language to make this funding available for two years, instead of just one year.
The TVPRA of 2013 (P.L. 113-4) created a grant program to “develop, expand and strengthen assistance programs for certain persons subject to trafficking.” Under this grant program, the Attorney General is authorized under Sec. 202 of P.L. 109-164 (TVPRA of 2005), as amended by the TVPRA of 2013, to provide $8,000,000 in grant funding to serve sex trafficked minors. Since the authorized funds are specific to sex trafficked minors, we are requesting an additional $2,000,000 in grant funds to support the same services, training, and outreach for labor trafficked youth. We believe developing these programs simultaneously is imperative given that the federal definition of human trafficking includes both sex and labor trafficking.
Specialized, comprehensive, trauma-informed, gender-specific assistance to minor victims of human trafficking is essential to combating this crime. Minor victims of trafficking face major hurdles in recovering from the abuse and trauma of their trafficking situation. Law enforcement around the country has identified the lack of specialized housing programs as the greatest obstacle in bringing effective prosecutions against child traffickers.
According to the most recent data from the Department of Justice, 1,000 juveniles under the age of 18 were arrested for prostitution in 2011. Anecdotal data from selected cities further illustrates the need for these funds. In Los Angeles County, for example, the Succeed Through Achievement and Resilience (STAR) Court Program estimates that 210 girls are arrested annually for prostitution. (This does not include the number of children who disclose while they are in juvenile hall). In the first six months of 2016 alone, 141 juveniles have disclosed that they were in fact victims of trafficking, even though they were not arrested for prostitution.
While we support the need for additional funding for trafficked minors, especially sex trafficked minors, we believe DOJ must carefully administer this new grant fund in close collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and that the key areas within the grant fund include: residential care, 24-hour response services, clothing and basic necessities, case management services, mental health counseling, comprehensive, trauma-informed, and gender specific services, legal services, and specialized training for social service providers, public and private sector personnel, and outreach and education. HHS in its runaway and homeless youth programs and other services grant areas already have technical expertise in all of the above-listed areas.
Legal Activities / Civil Rights Division
3. Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit (HTPU)
We request $6,500,000 for the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, resources it needs to maintain its growing caseload. Despite a 62 percent increase in cases filed in the last five years (FY 2011-2015) compared to the previous five-year period, funding for the HTPU has been flat at $5.3 million since FY 2010. These cases are resource intensive because they are procedurally complex, and involve multiple jurisdictions and defendants. With increased funding, HTPU will be able to more effectively investigate and prosecute all forms of trafficking and modern slavery.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
4. Salaries and Expenses
We request $15,000,000, as authorized by Sec. 113(h) of the TVPA of 2000 (P.L. 106-386), as amended by the TVPRA of 2005 (P.L. 109-164) and the TVPRA of 2008 (P.L. 110-457), for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Salaries and Expenses account to investigate severe forms of trafficking in persons. As the lead federal law enforcement agency, the FBI’s ability to combat human trafficking and forced labor would be significantly enhanced through additional resources devoted specifically to this crime. In FY 2015, the FBI identified approximately 672 victims of human trafficking, of which 75% were from domestic minor sex trafficking and child sex tourism cases and 25% were from adult sex or labor trafficking cases or foreign national minor cases. Resources will be needed to ensure all types of trafficking cases continue to be appropriately investigated.
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
5. International Labor Affairs Bureau
We request $118,500,000 for the Bureau of International Labor Affairs in the Department of Labor (DOL/ILAB). ILAB is responsible for implementing Section 105(b)(2) of the TVPRA of 2005 (P.L.109-164) and Section 110 of the TVPRA of 2008 (P.L.110-457). In the past, these requirements have not been funded. Funding provided would allow ILAB to fulfill its Congressional mandates and ensure staff is able to travel to the countries with which it has partnered. Specifically, we request $27,000,000 for the administration of the Bureau of International Labor Affairs, $57,500,000 for the Child Labor and Forced Labor program, $9,000,000 for the Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor and Human Trafficking, $10,000,000 for the Workers’ Rights program, and $15,000,000 for the Human Trafficking Risk Reduction Grants.
6. Wage and Hour
We request $5,000,000 for the extension of services and benefits for victims of trafficking to implement 22 U.S.C. § 7105(b), as authorized by 22 U.S.C. § 7110(f). DOL is often the initial investigator of human trafficking crimes.
Labor trafficking affects work across many industries in the United States, most commonly domestic work, agriculture, manufacturing, janitorial services, hotel services, construction, health and elder care, hair and nail salons, and strip club dancing. DOL needs the resources to protect and support victims during these investigations, including providing access and referrals to shelter, medical care, mental health services, legal services, and case management.
Although funding for victim services through DOL has been authorized for over a decade, no funds have been provided for victim service programs through DOL. The 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report) narrative on U.S. efforts to combat trafficking highlighted:
“DOL field investigators were often the first government authorities to detect exploitative labor practices, and the DOL [Wage and Hour Division] targeted industries employing vulnerable workers, such as the agriculture, garment, janitorial, restaurant, and hospitality industries.”
Furthermore, the 2014 TIP Report noted that one “federally-funded report found that 30 percent of migrant laborers surveyed in one California community were victims of trafficking,” and raised the need for increased funding for comprehensive victim services.
Additionally, in November of 2014, as part of President Obama’s Executive Actions on Immigration, it was announced that DOL would begin providing T-visa certification and U-visa certification for three additional crimes (extortion, forced labor and fraud in foreign labor contracting). Wage and Hour employees must be fully trained on investigation protocols and handling of U- or T-visa certification requests. It is imperative that Department of Labor has the resources necessary to support survivors of trafficking and other workplace crimes with either U- or T-visa certification depending on the survivors’ requests.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Administration for Children and Families
We are excited that HHS ACF established the Office of Trafficking in Persons (OTIP), underscoring the importance of coordinating the human trafficking efforts across ACF. ACF works directly with all victims of human trafficking – men, women, children, LGBTQ, foreign nationals and domestic clients – stressing the need to have an office that is responsible for guiding principles and best practices.
OTIP requires a core team of staff. ATEST requests robust and new resources for HHS to hire the appropriate FTEs to help staff the office. We applaud ACF for taking this important step in creating a more coordinated and collaborative model to better assist all victims of human trafficking. We look forward to working with OTIP’s new staff to ensure victims receive the benefits and resources they need to recover and build a new life.
7. Office on Trafficking in Persons: Foreign National Victims
We request $16,000,000 for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to implement the TVPA, as amended in 2013, to serve foreign national victims. These grants are crucial to providing victims, including children, the comprehensive aid and services once they have been identified as a victim of trafficking. In 2015, 863 victims were identified and certified as in need of comprehensive, trauma-informed, gender specific services, an 872% increase since 2002. Yet, funding for these programs has minimally increased for over that same period and remains insufficient to meet victims’ needs. We support the Department’s decision to include legal services within the comprehensive services available to victims. We encourage ACF to use a portion of these increased funds for legal services for victims.
While the prevalence of human trafficking is difficult to determine, there are some indicators of the scope of the problem. For example, the National Human Trafficking Hotline has identified nearly 23,806 potential human trafficking victims since 2007. Yet, HHS and its grantees have been able to serve less than 800 survivors annually. Each year since the passage of TVPA, HHS funding has had to serve an increasing number of survivors with the same resources. For example, in FY 2015, the federal government issued 623 certifications to foreign adults and 240 eligibility letters to foreign children, an increase from 530 for adults and 219 for children in FY 2014 and an increase from 406 adults and 114 children in FY 2013. Since HHS has needed to serve increasing numbers of victims with the same level of funding, service periods for some clients are only as long as four months. This short service period challenges a survivor’s ability to recover and to participate in criminal prosecutions, which can often last as long as two years.
8. Office on Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Citizens
We request $16,000,000 for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to implement the TVPA, as amended in 2013, by issuing grants to NGOs working in communities around the country providing case management programs for U.S. citizens and legal permanent resident victims of severe forms of trafficking. These grants are crucial to providing victims, including children, the necessary aid and services once they have been identified as a victim of trafficking. We appreciate the Administration’s support for grant funding for U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents within ACF and encourage the Administration to include this item again in the FY 2018 Budget Request.
Recovery programs for U.S. citizens include medical and psychological treatment, housing, access to educational programs, life skills development, and other assistance through HHS-funded NGO programs. In 2015, the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH) identified 1,630 child trafficking cases: 1,386 cases of child sex trafficking and 115 cases of child labor trafficking. The NHTH also found that of all the sex trafficking cases it identified, 34.7% involved U.S. citizen victims (1,435 cases), and of all the labor trafficking cases it identified, 14.8% involved U.S. citizen victims (107 cases). Yet, funding for services for this population remains woefully low. The request for $16,000,000 in funding reflects the need to appropriately address the needs of this population. These funds may also support public awareness, training, and coalition building to raise awareness about human trafficking among law enforcement, social services, medical staff and other potential first responders, in addition to other faith-based and community groups.
9. The National Human Trafficking Hotline
We request $2,500,000 for the Administration of Children and Families to support the National Human Trafficking Hotline (formerly known as the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline). The NHTH is authorized by Section 107(b)(1)(B) of the 2000 TVPRA as amended (22 U.S.C. 7105(b)(1)(B)(ii)).
The NHTH is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls, online tips and email queries from anywhere 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The hotline is used to collect tips on human trafficking cases, connect victims with anti-trafficking services in their area, and where appropriate report actionable tips to law enforcement. The NHTH provides its services to both domestic and foreign victims of human trafficking, and was recently funded by the amounts appropriated to the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the level of $1,000,000 for FY 2016.
Funding to the NHTH is insufficient to meet the growing call volume. In 2008, the NHTH received 3,516 human trafficking related calls and in 2015 it received 21,947 calls, 1,275 e-mails, and 1,535 online tip reports related to human trafficking. The NHTH provides assistance to victims seeking shelter, case management, and legal services. The NHTH also collects and provides valuable data on the prevalence of victims in the United States, as well as on human trafficking trends. To better assist in the identification of victims and access to services, we request $2,500,000 for the NHTH.
10. Runaway and Homeless Youth Act
ATEST is requesting a total of $165,000,000 for the ACF to implement the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, originally part of the Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Act and last reauthorized by the Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-378), in order to prevent trafficking, identify survivors, and provide services to runaway, homeless and disconnected youth.
The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act provides vital services to runaway, homeless, and disconnected youth. This modest investment has laid the foundation for a national system of services for our most vulnerable young people who are at risk of becoming or have already been victims of exploitation and trafficking, abuse, familial rejection, unsafe communities, and poverty. ACF has been involved with monitoring, reporting on and consulting with other government agencies regarding Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) programs. These programs provide homeless and victimized youth with hope, safety, healing, and opportunities for a new life through: emergency shelters, family reunification when safe, aftercare, outreach, education and employment, health care, behavioral and mental health, transitional housing, and independent housing options. This support achieves the following successful outcomes for youth: 1) safe exit from homelessness and hopelessness; 2) family reunification and/or establishment of permanent connections in their communities; 3) education, employment and sustainable independence; and 4) prevention of human trafficking. Further, these programs are often best positioned to prevent trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation and provide early identification of victims of these crimes.
11. Highly Vulnerable Populations Study
We request $3,000,000 to be directed to HHS for a study on the prevalence, characteristics, and needs of programs serving homeless youth in America. Because homeless and human trafficked youth are often indiscernible and unwilling to disclose their housing and victimization status, a national multi-tiered research and data collection effort is needed. To scale up the most effective housing and interventions and services needed for homeless youth, it is critical to know where to target these interventions. To know how much housing and services are needed to care for our vulnerable homeless and human trafficked youth, regular large-scale research is needed to gather data and information on the number, characteristics, and needs of unaccompanied homeless youth in America.
12. Office of Refugee Resettement (ORR): Unaccompanied Alien Children’s (UAC) Program, Pro Bono Legal Services Initiative
The UAC program, authorized under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, P.L. 107-296, the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA, P.L. 110-457), and the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 (VAWA, P.L. 113-4), provides shelter and support services to unaccompanied children apprehended in the United States by the Department of Homeland Security or other law enforcement agencies. Many of these children are fleeing for their lives from violence in their home countries. The dangers they face include vulnerability to gang and drug cartel recruitment, rape and other forms of sexual assault, as well as, various forms of human trafficking, including forced labor in the agricultural sector, begging, street vending, restaurant work, commercial sex, and domestic servitude. The UAC program houses the legal services initiative, which supports legal representation for both released and detained unaccompanied children. We request at least $80,000,000 of the total amount allocated to the UAC program be specifically for the pro bono legal services initiative.
A 2014 report from Syracuse University concluded that 70 percent of unaccompanied children in immigration proceedings do not have lawyers. This compromises their ability to access legal protection and leads to court inefficiencies. The percentage of children who are unrepresented has risen significantly as the number of children crossing our borders increased dramatically.
We strongly recommend that the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) use its legal services funding in a way that reaches and meets the representation needs of as many children as possible. Historically, ORR has allocated most of its funding for legal services to Know Your Rights presentations and initial case screenings of children while the children are in ORR custody. Immigration court hearings are complicated, adversarial and are not child centered. Without assistance of counsel, unaccompanied children are not able to successfully navigate the immigration court system to obtain relief from removal. While education and screening are essential, these efforts do not address the critical need for representation for children.
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
13. ED Grants to Local Education Agencies, Title I
We request $2,000,000 for the Department to fulfill its mandate under the Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States (2013-2017). The Department of Education interfaces with approximately 50 million elementary and secondary school children each year. The Department is in a unique position to identify victims of sex and labor trafficking and prevent the victimization and exploitation of those children who might be susceptible to this crime.
Pursuant to the Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States (2013-2017), we request that the Department develop materials regarding all forms of human trafficking, including sex and labor trafficking, to ensure that educators are aware of how to identify and treat all types of trafficking. Further, we request that the Department undertake a study to examine the appropriate role of educators and the education system in preventing, identifying, and supporting child trafficking victims. The outcome of the study should inform the development of a model curriculum on the prevention of both sex and labor trafficking. The Department should consult stakeholders, including educators, NGOs as well as both labor and sex trafficking survivors, on the development of materials, the study, and the curriculum guidelines.
14. McKinney-Vento Act Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program
We are requesting $85,000,000 to implement the Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program (EHCYP), as authorized by section 722(d)(3) of the the McKinney-Vento Act as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) (P.L 114–95).
The EHCYP removes barriers to the enrollment, attendance, and opportunity for success for homeless children and youth; all of whom are at high risk of human trafficking. The EHCYP is effective in addressing youth homelessness. With the support of EHCYP grants, local education agencies have provided identification, enrollment and transportation assistance, as well as academic support and referrals for basic services. The EHCYP has given homeless children and youth the extra support they need to enroll and succeed in school.
Unfortunately, the resources directed to child and youth homelessness programs have not been sufficient in recent years. In the 2013-2014 school year, public schools identified a record 1,360,747 homeless children and youth – an 7% increase over the previous year and 100% increase since 2006-2007. The recently enacted ESSA increased the authorized funding for the EHCYP to $85 million, the first increase since FY 2010. However, only 22% of school districts receive support through the EHCYP in any given year. As a result, homeless children and youth are under-identified and continue to face significant barriers to school enrollment and continuity.
Homeless children and youth are particularly at risk for human trafficking. Under the McKinney-Vento Act’s EHCYP, all school districts are required to designate a homeless liaison, who proactively identifies homeless children and youth and connects them to vital services like food, housing, and clothing. Under the Act, school districts are also required to provide transportation to stabilize the educational experiences of homeless students. Because all school districts – even those in communities without youth shelters — must designate a liaison for homeless students, schools are uniquely positioned to identify youth who are being trafficked, or are at risk of being trafficked, and provide connections to services. Yet many liaisons are designated in name only, and lack the time and the training to carry out their duties. This lack of capacity is particularly severe in light of the increase in student homelessness. Increasing funding for the EHCYP will support a dedicated infrastructure within the nation’s public schools to identify and serve children and youth who are at very high risk of human trafficking.
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
15. Homeless Assistance Grants / Continuums of Care (CoC) For Youth
Within the Homeless Assistance Grants program, we request $300,000,000 in funding for Continuums of Care (CoC) to specifically serve homeless youth, inclusive of both minors and young adults, which are authorized under Title IV, Subtitle C, section 422 of the McKinney-Vento Act.
Transitional housing, emergency shelter, and other emergency solutions programs are integral parts to prevent trafficking among the homeless youth population because a lack of housing increases vulnerability and heightens a young person’s risk of becoming a victim of human trafficking. Currently, HUD has been deprioritizing housing and shelter programs with supportive services in exchange for prioritizing other housing interventions that are largely not youth-appropriate or accessible to homeless youth. Having a stable place to live coupled with services that reconnect youth with education while also teaching life skills is necessary for youth to be able to fully support themselves when they become adults. Programs with a youth appropriate focus are the most effective way to prevent the human trafficking of youth experiencing homelessness. Without these programs and their resources available to youth, they are more likely to fall victim to trafficking.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
16. End Modern Slavery Initiative
Congress has demonstrated overwhelming support for the End Modern Slavery Initiative, a grant-making organization that will seek to leverage public and private resources to fund programs to combat sexual exploitation and forced labor around the world. Pending its authorization at the end of 2016, we request that you fully fund the End Modern Slavery Initiative at $36,000,000 per year to complement existing anti-trafficking programs that address root causes, while protecting existing human rights, development, humanitarian, and democracy assistance.
17. United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking
We request additional resources, in an amount of $500,000, to support the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking (“Council”). In May 2015, the President signed into law the Survivors of Human Trafficking Empowerment Act (Sec. 115 of Public Law 114-22), which established the Council to provide advice and recommendations to the Senior Policy Operating Group and the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking. Human trafficking survivors are in the best position to speak to policies that have the greatest impact and will effect real change. Survivors of human trafficking are more than just their stories—they have a deep understanding of the problem and what is needed to combat it and support survivors. We commend the Administration for appointing Council members and strongly recommend additional funding necessary to establish a Council that reflects the diverse backgrounds of survivors of trafficking — including foreign national and U.S. citizen survivors of sex and labor trafficking. The request would fund support staff for the Council,convenings, Council members travel and incidental expenses, and other activities authorized by the Act. We applaud the U.S. Government for working with survivors, not only on their behalf.
18. Global Human Trafficking Hotline
We request $300,000 for the Department of State to support the launch of the Global Human Trafficking Hotline referenced by the regulations implementing Executive Order 13627, Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal Contracts. These regulations, released in January 2015, require “a process for employees to report, without fear of retaliation, activity inconsistent with the policy prohibiting trafficking in persons, including a means to make available to all employees the hotline phone number of the Global Human Trafficking Hotline at 1–844–888–FREE and its email address at firstname.lastname@example.org.” (FAR § 52.222-50(h)(3)(ii)).
The policy as outlined in FAR § 52.222-50(h)(3)(ii) can ultimately succeed only if workers have an independent channel of communication to report concerns. Providing access to a multimodal hotline (e.g. phone, email) gives contractor employees and agents an easy means to safely report any indication of exploitation or human trafficking in their workplace or community. We recognize that in order to build trust with workers who may fear retaliation they must receive swift and sustained support.
$300,000 will enable the Department of State to provide a confidential and independent hotline to support the goals of Executive Order 13627.
Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP)
There is a growing awareness of the problem of human trafficking and forced labor in countries around the world, but many countries lack the resources needed to help combat the problem. J/TIP provides the resources and tools that are often needed in many of these countries. J/TIP is already funding projects in over 76 countries in an effort to assist governments with the will to change but that lack the financial resources to do so. According to a report released by the State Department Inspector General (IG), U.S. grant funding to assist Tier 2 and Tier 2 Watch List countries has been cut significantly at a time when U.S. leadership continues to elevate worldwide trafficking awareness.
We request $12,000,000 for J/TIP for combatting human trafficking. J/TIP needs additional resources to ensure that the United States government continues to be a strong leader on these issues. The IG report asserts that the assessment and evaluation methodology related to the tier ranking system of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, as amended, is not well understood among other State Department offices outside of J/TIP, which leads to challenges with implementation. Robust funding would improve collaboration with the posts and regional bureaus, and enable J/TIP to encourage foreign governments to comply with the minimum standards in the TVPA and implementation of the tier ranking system. This amount will also enable J/TIP to provide additional expertise in prosecution and prevention strategies, and to assist in addressing performance gaps, particularly for Tier 2 Watch List countries. The amount will also support ongoing reporting and grant functions vital to the office’s efforts to encourage progress in achieving the TVPA’s standards and building in-country capacity. These grants in Tier 2 Watch List countries are increasingly effective because they are leveraged with diplomatic and fiscal pressure as Tier 2 Watch List countries are subject to the “auto-downgrade provision” and future sanctions.
Additionally, this funding would help support the President’s Interagency Task Force. Under the original TVPA, J/TIP is responsible for convening this task force, which coordinates anti-trafficking efforts across the U.S. Government.
20. Emergency Capacity Fund
In addition, we request $3,000,000 for J/TIP to establish a rapid response team as authorized in the most recent TVPRA to respond to unplanned but acute crises like the recent earthquake in Nepal and to respond to other requests for assistance from foreign governments. The team would provide urgently needed training and technical assistance capabilities to build in and leverage an anti-trafficking response within disaster- and conflict-related response efforts, including training border control, law enforcement, and humanitarian first responders, help write TIP laws or support TIP policy implementation in crisis environments where they may otherwise be ignored, and advise the establishment or expansion of effective and safe survivor shelters. Currently, J/TIP does not have the staff needed to respond to these international requests for practical support in crises.
21. Grants Administered by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP): International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement / Trafficking in Persons grants
We request $45,000,000 for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) to award grants to U.S.-based and foreign non-profit and non-governmental organizations (NGO), public international organizations (PIO), and universities to fight human trafficking internationally through preventative workshops, training workshops for law enforcement, and legal and strategic support. These grants provide very specific support to law enforcement to help train and educate officers on how to recognize trafficking and forced labor, how to investigate it, assist with prosecutions, and how to assist victims.
This funding is needed to continue essential work, which previously included programs in 21 target countries. These projects included: working to reduce trafficking in mining zones in DRC; scaling up child protection systems in Mauritania to prevent and combat child trafficking; improving the identification of, and the provision of services to, trafficking victims for forced labor in the garment/textile, domestic work, and agricultural sectors in Jordan; and labor trafficking of men into the fishing industry in Thailand. Additional funding is also needed to respond to new challenges, particularly online commercial sexual exploitation of children, both girls and boys, in the Philippines. This year, however, J/TIP funds programs in 14 countries and focuses almost exclusively on “protection.”
These funds are critical to ensuring that victims are identified and protected, traffickers are convicted and systems and policies are in place to prevent future trafficking. In 2015, only 77,823 victims of human trafficking were identified globally, of an estimated 21 million. This amounts to less than 0.4% of victims. Additionally, the 2016 TIP Report states that in 2015 there were an estimated 18,930 prosecutions and 6,609 convictions of traffickers globally. Prosecution and prevention efforts should be expanded and strengthened given the global magnitude of human trafficking.
22. Grants Administered by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP): Child Protection Compacts
We also request an additional $5,000,000 be designated specifically for Child Protection Compacts. Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2013 (P.L. 113-4), the State Department is authorized to provide assistance for each country that enters into a child protection compact with the United States to support policies and programs that prevent and respond to violence, exploitation, and abuse against children; and measurably reduce the trafficking of minors, by building sustainable and effective systems of justice, prevention, and protection. The assistance can be provided in the form of grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts to or with national governments, regional or local governmental units, or non-governmental organizations with expertise in the protection of victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons. In 2015, J/TIP administered the first Child Protection Compacts in Ghana through the award of cooperative agreements. In FY 2016, Congress appropriated $5 million for a second Child Protection Compact, and we are encouraged by the progress J/TIP has made in the selection process of choosing the second country in which to administer this money. We look forward to the announcement of the country later this year. We recommend that additional funding is made available for another country to be chosen in FY 2018 and that J/TIP continues to be the implementing agency of the Child Protection Compacts and that sufficient funding is appropriated to allow them to fulfill this mandate.
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Of the amounts provided for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), we request $10,000,000 specifically for activities to support labor rights, labor recruitment reform, and corporate accountability activities, as well as efforts to combat gender-based violence. These important programs strengthen multi-stakeholder engagement on labor and sexual exploitation in supply chains (including of products or services exported to the United States). Examples of these programs include anti-child labor initiatives in cotton and cocoa, efforts to support Brazil’s national plan against slave labor, capacity building for local labor monitoring and worker organizations, efforts to combat entrenched forms of slavery in Mauritania, Mali and Senegal, and initiatives to address the particular vulnerability of migrant workers and other vulnerable populations to forced labor and other forms of abuse and exploitation.
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
23. Program on Migration
We request $800,000 for the Program on Migration, implemented through funding to the International Organization on Migration (IOM), within Migration and Refugee Assistance, to ensure continued services to support family reunification efforts for human trafficking survivors in the United States throughout the year. Services for human trafficking survivors’ family members sponsored by this program are unique in that they provide on-the-ground assistance for human trafficking survivors’ families around the world and ensure that families can be reunited after years of separation.
Overall, the demand for IOM’s assistance has been consistently high for the past 3 years with the agency helping almost 500 derivative family members annually. IOM is receiving more requests for assistance from across the United States. Requests for assistance have steadily increased over five years. In 2011 IOM received only 139 requests; yet in 2015, IOM received 496 requests. This is a 357% increase in requests. Funding must keep pace with these requests; otherwise, IOM will face challenges meeting survivors’ families’ needs, such as in 2013 when IOM ran a waitlist of over 149 family members, and trafficking victims were notified that there would be no support for family reunification.
U.S. Agency for International Development
24. DCHA: Counter-Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) Policy
Within the budget for Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA), we request $1,800,000 to support efforts to integrate counter-trafficking in persons work into other Agency programs both at headquarters and within missions, including but not limited to health, food security, and economic development. ATEST and its member organizations applaud the release of USAID’s Counter-Trafficking in Persons Policy in February 2012 and the subsequent Field Guide released in April 2013, with DCHA taking the lead on anti-trafficking matters within USAID headquarters.
While we support USAID’s strategy to combat human trafficking and forced labor around the world, it appears that the implementation of the strategy in the field is lagging and not reflective of its prioritization by USAID headquarters or the Administration. Therefore, we request that a greater emphasis be placed on implementation of the anti-trafficking strategy in the field by requiring USAID Missions located in Tier 2, Tier 2-Watch List and Tier 3 countries to have a dedicated FTE for anti-trafficking programs and by requiring mandatory training in anti-trafficking policies and programs for USAID staff in these countries, and that future Country Development Coordination Strategies in these countries include a robust C-TIP analysis component. It is critical that all USAID staff operating in Tier 2, Tier 2 Watch List, and Tier 3 countries knows, understands, and implements the Agency’s anti-trafficking policies and integration strategy that cut across all divisions and programs so that they are able to effectively report on program successes.
In addition, in order to better understand the current state of integration of the C-TIP policy at the mission level, we recommend that USAID develop a mechanism to report out on instances where larger program investments are being leveraged to accomplish some limited C-TIP activity, short of reporting out on percentage of budget spent, through simple attribution. This could be accomplished by developing a category of attribution, “TIP Integrated Development Programs,” which would include, though not be limited to, any programming to address health, food security, economic development, education, democracy and governance, and humanitarian assistance that includes some C-TIP element integrated in the program design and/or delivery. This information will prove critical in understanding what broader programming is being leveraged, and where C-TIP elements can be targeted for integration.
25. DCHA: Global Labor Program
We request $10,000,000 to USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) for the Global Labor Program (GLP). The GLP plays a crucial role in addressing the underlying root causes of human trafficking and strengthens labor rights and workers’ organizations around the world. The GLP strengthens human trafficking prevention initiatives by supporting programs that improve the economic, social, and democratic development of vulnerable workers, such as migrant, informal economy, and women workers. These workers are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking, forced labor, and gender-based violence. The GLP also supports country-based regional and global programs on adherence to core labor standards.
The GLP is an official long-standing USAID program, funded out of the Human Rights and Democracy Fund, through five-year cooperative agreements. The operational office for the program is the Center for Excellence in Democracy, Human Rights and Governance (DRG) at USAID, which is part of the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA).
26. Human Rights Fund
We request $1,000,000 to support USAID’s Human Rights Fund, which is available to USAID Missions around the world to support integration across all development initiatives.
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Earlier this year, the President signed into law the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act to strengthen the authority to prohibit the importation of goods made with forced or prison labor into the United States, by repealing the exception for goods for which there is a “consumptive demand” in the United States. ATEST welcomes this law, which provides an effective tool for the Department of Homeland Security, through Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE), to take steps to prevent the importation of these goods. This enforcement would incentivize companies to examine their supply chains more deeply for the use of such labor to avoid disruptions of their supply. We urge you to include appropriate and necessary resources for the Department of Homeland Security, especially CBP and ICE, to effectively implement this change of law.
27. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
We request $34,400,000 in funding for investigations, training, and victim services by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons as authorized by Sec. 113(i) of the TVPRA of 2013 (P.L. 113-4). ICE plays a critical role in combating severe forms of trafficking originating from foreign countries, including investigations of violations of Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930, and is therefore the first line of defense in stopping this crime. Additional resources will be used to expand trafficking investigations and help reduce the incidents of trafficking and forced labor in the United States.
28. ICE / Child Sexual Exploitation Investigations Unit
We request $20,000,000 for the DHS for victim witness coordinators and to support investigations overseas into child sex tourism and forced labor. With this additional funding DHS would be able to hire 5 additional victim witness coordinators, staff essential to making sure that the DHS response to this crime is victim-centered. We also urge DHS to prioritize partnering with NGOs and service providers that are experienced in children’s rights so that child victims of sexual exploitation receive appropriate care and services.
29. DHS / Customs and Border Protection
We request $20,000,000 for Customs and Border Protection to self-initiate investigations into the enforcement of section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930. Recent changes in law have made it easier to enforce this prohibition on the importation into the United States of goods made with forced labor. Funds would be used to help CBP self-initiate investigations of particular types of goods, provide training to Customs officers and investigatory staff, and develop new technology new approaches to identifying and helping inspect cargo that may be produced with forced labor.
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
30. Office of the Secretary of Defense / Office of Human Trafficking
We request that the Department of Defense include $2,000,000 in FY 2018 to establish an Office of Human Trafficking located in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. These funds would be used to establish the Office and provide support for implementing DOD’s Strategic Plan for Combating Trafficking in Persons (CTIP). DOD is uniquely positioned to play an important role in combating trafficking in persons given the breadth and scope of its work in both its domestic and international operating environments. The implementation of the CTIP Strategic Plan would include issuing a DOD-wide policy that conforms to laws and executive orders on CTIP such as Title XVII of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA, P.L. 114-92) entitled, “Ending Trafficking in Government Contracting.” It would also include instituting training, education, and outreach programs to ensure greater awareness within the Department, as well as implementing standardized CTIP monitoring and enforcement processes and procedures that improve compliance and the reporting of incidents of trafficking.
We look forward to working with you and with Congress to secure the funding necessary to make strong inroads against the problem of human trafficking, forced labor, and modern slavery. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Melysa Sperber, ATEST Director, at (631) 374-0749 or email@example.com.
Alianza de Puerto Rico Contra la Trata Humana
Angels of Mercy
Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach
Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs
Breaking Free, Inc.
California National Organization for Women
Catholic Health Initiatives
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good
Center for the Human Rights of Children, Loyola University Chicago
Center of Concern
Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition
Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc.
Chab Dai Coalition, Cambodia
Child Labor Coalition
Child Welfare League of America
Children’s Advocacy Institute
Church Women United in New York State
St. Paul Civil Society
Coalition Against Trafficking & Exploitation
Congregation of Divine Providence
Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes
Covenant House International
Coalition of Religious Congregations – Stop Trafficking of Persons
Center for Reflection, Education and Action
Dana Investment Advisors
Daughters of Charity
Dominican Sisters – Ossining, Grand Rapids, Amityville, Blauvelt, Caldwell, Hope, Sparkill
Edmund Rice International
Stop Human Trafficking Now – Eastern North Carolina
End Trafficking Project, U.S. Fund for UNICEF
Franciscans Sisters in Rochester, MN
Fransican Action Network
Freedom Network USA
Friends of Farmworkers, Inc.
Glenmary Home Missioners
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ
Global Workers Justice Alliance
Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart
Grieboski Global Strategies, LLC
Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters, USA – JPIC
Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships
IF Hummingbird Foundation
Innocents at Risk
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
International Campaign for the Rohingya
International Council of Jewish Women
International Institute of Buffalo
International Institute of Connecticut
International Organization for Adolescents
Islamic Society of North America
Jantz Management LLC
Jeannette Rankin Peace Center
Jewish Women International
Just Neighbors Ministry
Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation
Kids in Crisis
Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking
Law Office of Shara Svendsen
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House
LifeWay Network, Inc.
Loma Linda University Church
Marist Brothers of the Schools
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Maternal and Child Health Access
Media Voices for Children
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
Mosaic Family Services
My Life My Choice
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
National Consumers League
National Council of Jewish Women
National Network for Youth
Network for Peace through Dialogue
New York Asian Women’s Center
Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors
NorthStar Asset Management, Inc.
Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment
Oblate Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer
Office of Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation, Comboni Missionaries
Pan-Pacific South East Asia Women’s Association/International
Presbyterian Women PC (USA)
Presbytery of Great Rivers
Region VI Coalition for Responsible Investment
Religious Sisters of Charity
Responsible Sourcing Network
Richmond Justice Initiative, Prevention Project
Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center
Salvatorian Advocacy for Victims of Exploitation
Sasha Bruce Youthwork, Inc.
School Sisters of Notre Dame – CP Shalom/JPIC Office
Sisters of Charity Health System
Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Corporate Responsibility Office
Sisters of Charity, BVM
Sisters of Charity, Halifax
Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet
Slavery Today Journal
Society of the Holy Child Jesus, American Province
Southeast King County Coalition Against Trafficking
SSND Cooperative Investment Fund
SSND WOMENS GROUP
T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
Taking Action for Peaceful Solutions
Thai Community Development Center
The College of New Jersey
The Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart
The Jewish Federations of North America
The Life Link
The Modern Slavery Research Project
The National Crittenton Foundation
The Salvation Army National Headquarters
The Women’s Law Center of Maryland, Inc.
Thurston County Juvenile Court
Truckers Against Trafficking
U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
U.S. National Committee for UN Women
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk, U.S. Province
Vida Legal Assistance, Inc.
Womens Interest Group, St. Paul
Worker Justice Center of NY
The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking is a U.S.-based coalition that advocates for solutions to prevent and end all forms of human trafficking and modern slavery around the world. ATEST member organizations include: Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), ECPAT-USA, Free the Slaves, Futures Without Violence (FUTURES), International Justice Mission, National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), National Network for Youth (NN4Y), Polaris, Safe Horizon, Solidarity Center, Verité, and Vital Voices Global Partnership. ATEST is a project of Humanity United Action.