Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) FY 2017
Investigations for Severe Trafficking and Training for Agents
THE NEED FOR FUNDING AND REPORT LANGUAGE
$15,000,000 for the FBI’s Salaries and Expenses account to investigate severe forms of trafficking in persons and report language.
Summary of Program
As the lead federal law enforcement agency, the FBI should be adequately equipped to effectively combat trafficking. In order to ensure the FBI has the necessary resources to investigate trafficking crimes, it should have additional and dedicated funding and staff.
Human trafficking investigations have nearly doubled since the inception of the FBI human trafficking initiative in 2004, from 86 in 2004 to 167 in 2009.29 In the same five-year span, the number of human trafficking prosecutions and convictions quadrupled.30
In FY 2009 the FBI opened 167 human trafficking investigations, made 202 arrests, and filed 77 complaints. In addition, 121 indictments were filed in FBI human trafficking cases, and 93 convictions were obtained. That same year, the FBI assisted 13 minor victims of trafficking and dismantled seven trafficking organizations.31 In FY 2014, the FBI identified approximately 664 adult and child victims in over 400 cases. Of these cases, 72%, or approximately 478 victims, were from domestic minor sex trafficking, child exploitation, and child sex tourism cases; and 28%, or approximately 186 victims, were from adult sex or labor trafficking cases or foreign national minor cases. Of the 400 cases in which victims were identified, 73% were domestic minor sex trafficking, child exploitation, and child sex tourism cases; and 27% were adult sex or labor trafficking cases or foreign national minor cases. While the total number of investigations has increased, the focus remains on combating child sex trafficking. Specialized funding and additional resources are necessary to ensure all types of trafficking cases – including sex and labor trafficking, of adults and children, foreign nationals and U.S. citizens/legal permanent residents – are investigated.
Continued Presence, a temporary form of immigration relief, was explicitly created under the TVPA of 2000 to provide status to potential trafficking victims. Too often victims are not receiving this form of relief in a timely matter, and additional burdens are placed on the cooperating victim as well as the service providers assisting the victim who remains without status in the United States.
Additionally, the FBI leads the Innocence Lost taskforces. Each year these taskforces lead coordinated cross-country operations. The most recent being in January 2016 during human trafficking awareness month. Service providers report that many potential adult victims of trafficking are arrested and cited as part of these operations and often even minor children are arrested. To ensure that potential victims are identified and treated appropriately, we ask for more transparency in the results of these operations through the addition of the following report language.
ATEST requests $15,000,000, 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 modern slavery would be significantly enhanced through additional resources devoted specifically to these investigations. In addition, given that the FBI is at the frontlines of identifying victims and referring them to victim service providers, the FBI would strengthen victim protections by seeking Continued Presence for potential trafficking victims as soon as possible to assist in the prosecution of traffickers and aid in victim recovery.
FBI agents are on the frontlines of our efforts to combat human trafficking, investigating cases of labor and sex trafficking of adults and children. FBI agents play a critical role in apprehending the perpetrators of this crime. However, too often, victims are treated as criminals rather than the victims they are. Additionally, victims are not provided with the benefits and support that is mandated by the TVPA. It is critical that FBI agents receive the training they need to identify and assist trafficking victims.
Proposed Report Language
Salaries and Expenses / Federal Bureau of Investigation
The bill provides $15,000,000 for the FBI to investigate severe forms of trafficking in persons. As the lead federal law enforcement agency, the FBI’s ability to combat trafficking and forced labor would be significantly enhanced through additional resources devoted specifically to the growing problem of trafficking and forced labor. The funding shall be used for investigations into trafficking and forced labor and providing victim witness coordinators when needed on an emergency basis.
The Committee directs FBI to identify potential victims of human trafficking and forced labor early in any FBI or FBI-led investigations and provide informational materials and referrals for victim assistance as quickly as possible prior to any legal action. The Committee encourages FBI to work with non-governmental organizations and victim service providers on victim referrals and assistance. The Committee also encourages FBI to seek: (1) Continued Presence for potential trafficking victims as soon as possible to assist in the prosecution of traffickers and aid in victim recovery and (2) assist local and state law enforcement to understand the requirements of CP and promptly respond to any state or local requests by law enforcement for CP for potential victims of human trafficking.
The Committee shall direct the FBI to issue a public report for all its past Innocence Lost Taskforce Operations that details the (1) number of potential traffickers arrested, (2) the number of adults in prostitution arrested, (3) the number of minor victims identified and arrested on (a) an open warrant or (b) for new prostitution charges, and (4) the placement and social service support secured for each child for each state operation. Beginning in 2016 and annually thereafter the FBI will compile a report and submit to OMB and make publicly available the above listed information.
FBI plays a critical role in investigating criminal organizations trafficking individuals within the United States. The Committee encourages the FBI to work with appropriate non-governmental organizations and victim services providers to improve the training of FBI agents in the field to assist in the identification of all forms of human trafficking – including both sex and labor victims – and provide appropriate referrals to victim services organizations.