US agencies join forces to combat growing human trafficking
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The Obama administration, as part of its commitment to fight human trafficking, has produced the first Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States. The five-year plan, released this month, lays out a path for increased collaboration among more than 15 U.S. federal government agencies.
The plan defines human trafficking as a crime that involves the exploitation of a person for the purpose of compelled labor or a commercial sex act.
Sex trafficking, which is part of human trafficking, is a federal crime and is defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a [commercial] sex act in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.
While it is difficult to measure the magnitude of human trafficking, the International Labour Organization estimates that more than 20 million men, women and children are victimized by forced labor and sex trafficking worldwide, including the United States.
Many of these victims are lured with false promises of well-paying jobs or manipulated by people they trust. They are forced or coerced into prostitution, domestic servitude, or other types of forced labor.
“While there is no defining characteristic that all victims share, traffickers frequently prey on individuals who are poor, vulnerable, living in an unsafe situation, or are in search of a better life,” the report says. “Whether made to work in agriculture, a factory or a strip club, forced into commercial sex, or abused in a home as a domestic servant, [U.S.] federal law recognizes these people as victims of human trafficking.”
Although the plan focuses on combating human trafficking in the United States, President Obama, in designating January 2014 as “National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month,” called upon the international community to join forces in ending this scourge.
“Because modern-day slavery is a global tragedy, combating it requires international action,” Obama said in his proclamation.
Dismantling trafficking networks and aiding victims are only part of the work that needs to be done by the United States and the international community, Obama said.