The Trump Administration released a new “National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking” this week that will aim to eradicate modern human trafficking.
“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are among the unalienable rights enshrined in America’s founding documents. Tragically, through force, fraud, and coercion, human traffickers deprive victims of these cherished rights,” President Trump wrote in announcing the plan. “My Administration is determined to eradicate this evil from our cities, suburbs, rural areas and tribal lands.”
The plan lays out a “whole-of-government approach” that will be pursued to combat human trafficking and is built around the “three pillars” of prevention, protection and prosecution which are laid out in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.
In 2019, more than 1,600 new investigations were initiated by federal law enforcement agencies into human traffickers. Additionally, the document notes that in the last three years, over 5,000 human traffickers were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other law enforcement agents.
According to the document, “24.9 million people are subjected to human trafficking, which generates an estimated $150 billion annually in illicit profits.”
Among the numerous objectives laid out in the document include investigating and prosecuting human traffickers, dismantling criminal networks that carry out human trafficking, providing additional relief to victims of trafficking, funding domestic and international anti-trafficking programs and promoting public awareness on the issue.
Also as part of the plan, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has created the Center for Countering Human Trafficking (CCHT) that establishes “a centralized location for subject matter experts to coordinate and expand its efforts” in ending human trafficking.
DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf announced the new center on Tuesday which will be led by ICE and “staffed with law enforcement officials from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and across DHS, as well as subject matter experts and support staff from 16 DHS components” in order to provide a better, coordinated response to combat human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is modern day slavery. There is no other way to say it,” Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement.
“The words are strong because the actions are evil. The forms of exploitation, sex trafficking, forced labor and domestic servitude that constitute human trafficking are antithetical in every way to the principles of human dignity that Americans hold dear. The launch of this Center for Countering Human Trafficking represents the investment of resources, attention and time by President Trump to combat and dismantle all forms of human trafficking,” the secretary added.
In laying out his plan, the president also noted that since human trafficking “is an intolerable blight” on any society in which it occurs, “the United States government will continue… to eradicate this evil.”
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