The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
) is an agency within the United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...
charged with investigating and creating programs to prevent human trafficking
Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of reproductive slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, or a modern-day form of slavery...
both within the United States and internationally. The office also presents the Trafficking in Persons Report annually to Congress, concerning human trafficking in the U.S. and other nations. This report aims to raise awareness about human exploitation and trafficking, and to prevent it. The office’s goals are to make the public aware, protect victims, take legal action against violators, establish necessary and just sentences for criminals, and train law enforcement individuals.
The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons was established in October 2001 as a result of the passing of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. This enabling legislation required the President to create a bureau within the State Department to specifically address human trafficking and exploitation on all levels and to take legal action against perpetrators. Additionally, this act was designed to also enforce all laws within the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution officially abolished and continues to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. It was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, passed by the House on January 31, 1865, and adopted on December 6, 1865. On...
Currently, there is a U. S. Law on Trafficking in Persons, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), which has three updated versions. The latest was implemented in January 2006.
The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons monitors human trafficking and prosecutes perpetrators. It divides nations into tiers based on their compliance with standards outlined in the TVPA.
These tiers are:
- Tier 1 Countries whose governments fully comply with the TVPA's minimum standards.
- Tier 2 Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.
- Tier 2 Watchlist Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards AND: a) The absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing; or b) There is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year; or c) The determination that a country is making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional future steps over the next year.
- Tier 3 Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.
- Nancy Ely-Raphel (2001–2002)
- John R. Miller (2002–2006)
- Paula Goode (acting - 2006–2007)
- Mark P. Lagon (2007–2009)
- Nan Kennelly (acting - 2009)
- Luis CdeBaca (2009– )
- Laura Lederer
Laura J. Lederer is a legal scholar and former Senior Advisor on Trafficking in Persons in the Office for Democracy and Global Affairs of the United States Department of State. She has also been an activist against human trafficking, prostitution, pornography, and hate speech...
(Senior Director of Global Projects; Senior Advisor on Trafficking in Persons to Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, 2001–2009)
Report Trafficking in the US
Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center
(1-888-373-7888) to report a potential case of human trafficking; to connect with anti-trafficking services in your area; or, to request training and technical assistance, general information or specific anti-trafficking resources. The hotline is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services
, but is operated by Polaris Project
Polaris Project is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that works to combat and prevent modern day slavery and human trafficking. The organization works directly with victims, hosts tip and crisis hotlines and offers solutions to those victimized by human trafficking...
, a non-governmental organization. Victims can call for help, even if they are undocumented. Victims are commonly trafficked internationally as well as within their own countries.