Department of Labor (DOL)/Department of Wage and Hour FY 2016
THE NEED FOR FUNDING AND REPORT LANGUAGE
$5,000,000 for services for victims of trafficking to implement Section 107(b) of the TVPA and report language.
DOL is oftentimes the initial investigator of human trafficking crimes, including a case involving over 400 victims. The 2016 Budget Request for Wage and Hour is $277,100,000, an increase of $43,390,000 and 317 FTE, including 300 new investigators. In FY 2014, Wage and Hour utilized over 1,000 investigators. However, DOL requires additional resources to train all of its inspectors to be able to identify and respond to survivors of trafficking. Among victims of trafficking in the United States, trafficking often occurs for labor and most commonly in 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. Without these necessary services many victims of this horrific crime will remain vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.
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 2010 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, which ranked U.S. efforts to combat human trafficking in our own country for the first time, highlighted the following:
Among foreign victims of trafficking in the United States, “[t]rafficking occurs primarily for labor and most commonly in domestic servitude, agriculture, manufacturing, janitorial services, hotel services, construction, health and elder care, hair and nail salons, and strip club dancing. (Emphasis added.)41
These are all areas where DOL has investigative oversight. Furthermore, the reports in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 highlighted the need for increased funding for victim services.42 Finally the 2013 TIP Report stated that DOL had trained WHD investigators on human trafficking and had begun modifying that training for other enforcement agency staff. Given that DOL has already taken important first steps to increase identification of trafficking victims, it is imperative that the U.S. Government appropriate sufficient funds to serve these additional victims once identified.
Additionally, Wage and Hour must begin certifying not only U-visas, but also T-visas. Under the TVPRA and recent Executive Action, the Department of Labor has the authority to sign T-visa certification. Since T-visa recipients are eligible for benefits that U-visa holders are not, it is imperative that Department of Labor support trafficking survivors with either U- or T-visa certification depending on the survivors’ requests.
The Department of Labor must be funded to become a champion in this area. Without necessary services, many victims of this horrific crime will remain vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. ATEST requests $5,000,000 for services for victims of trafficking to implement Section 107(b) of the TVPA. We are also requesting inclusion of report language recommending funds to ensure comprehensive services for human trafficking victims.
Proposed Report Language
The Committee recommends $5,000,000 for the Wage and Hour Division to implement Sec. 107(b) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (P.L. 103-4) to ensure comprehensive services for human trafficking victims.