U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) FY 2016
THE REPORT LANGUAGE NEED
Like ICE officers, CBP officers play an integral role in our efforts to combat human trafficking, most especially at our borders. Training the agents to understand and appreciate the nuances of human trafficking cases and to accurately identify trafficking victims is imperative to servicing the victims, prosecuting the traffickers, and deterring future trafficking crimes. We ask that language be included in the Committee Report for the FY 2016 Homeland Security Appropriations bill.
Summary of Program
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a bureau within the Department of Homeland Security, is charged with keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the United States. CBP is also responsible for “securing and facilitating trade and travel while enforcing hundreds of U.S. regulations, including immigration and drug laws.” More specifically, CBP created a new policy in 2009 aimed at screening for unaccompanied alien children who may be victims of trafficking.54
CBP is ideally situated to detect and prevent human trafficking in the United States. Agents who are often used to dealing with human smuggling rings need training to properly identify potential trafficking victims. Proper identification of these cases will allow the U.S. Government to seek the far greater criminal charges associated with human trafficking cases and better prevent future cases of human trafficking in the United States.
As CBP is often the first to encounter victims of trafficking when they enter the United States, it is especially critical that the staff receives training that will allow them to identify victims and direct them to appropriate service providers. Increasing the frequency and accuracy with which victims are identified is critical to saving lives and helping victims to get the care they need immediately.
Proposed Report Language
CBP plays a critical role in identifying potential human trafficking victims as they enter the United States. The Committee encourages CBP to work with appropriate nonprofit organizations and victim service providers to improve the training of CBP officers in the field to assist in the identification of human trafficking victims and provide appropriate referrals to victim service organizations.
Human Trafficking Hotline Number
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls from anywhere 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. The hotline is used to collect tips on human trafficking cases, to connect victims with anti-trafficking services in their area, and to provide training and technical assistance and specific anti-trafficking resources. We request that the Committee include report language directing the Commissioner of CBP to post the hotline number and website in all U.S. ports of entry.
Proposed Report Language
The Committee directs the Commissioner to post the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline, email address, text messaging number, and website information in all U.S. ports of entry.