U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs

Human Trafficking

Faces of Human Trafficking Video Series

Intended for outreach and education efforts of service providers, law enforcement, prosecutors, and others in the community.

Learn More


The centerpiece of the U.S. Government’s efforts to eliminate trafficking in persons is the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) (Pub. L. 106-386), as amended. The TVPA enhanced the federal government’s response to trafficking in the U.S. by affording increased protections and resources for victims; creating new crime types and enhancing penalties for prosecuting trafficking offenders; and expanding the U.S. Government’s international activities to prevent victims from being trafficked (Office for Victims of Crime, Trafficking in Persons page, Retrieved June 2014).

Estimates of Trafficking Victims Worldwide

Based on information governments have provided, more than 77,000 trafficking victims were identified in 2015. However, it is estimated that there are really millions of children and adults are trafficking victims at any given time. (Department of State, 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2016).

According to the TVPA, human trafficking includes the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or other services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. It includes sex trafficking, in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the victim is under 18 years of age. (Office of Justice Programs, Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) (Pub. L. 106-386), December 2011).

In December 2015, the Department of Justice released the Attorney General's Annual Report to Congress and Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons: Fiscal Year 2014. This report highlights specific activities of and recommendations for federal agencies as they work to prevent and address cases of human trafficking and better serve those who have been victimized. Following are specific examples of OJP efforts that were highlighted:

  1. OJJDP engaged adult survivors of child sex trafficking to be grant application peer reviewers for its FY 2014 Mentoring for Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Domestic Sex Trafficking Initiative.
  2. OJJDP continued to support training and technical assistance responsive to the needs of law enforcement, juvenile justice agencies, and victim services and youth-serving agencies through programs such as AMBER Alert and Internet Crimes Against Children task forces.
  3. OVC held the Human Trafficking Survivor Forum and Listening Session in January 2014.
  4. BJA and OVC continued to actively collaborate with other federal agencies to enhance the efforts of law enforcement agencies, the justice system, and victim service organizations to combat all forms of trafficking.
  5. BJA-funded task forces entered a total of 1,083 investigations into the Human Trafficking Reporting System.
  6. OVC administered its Services for Victims of Human Trafficking Grant Program to support the efforts of victim service organizations in providing timely, professional, and culturally competent services to human trafficking victims, resulting in nearly $11 million in awards.

Released in January 2014, the Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States 2013-2017 captures the following goals:

  1. Align Efforts: Promote a strategic, coordinated approach to the provision of services for victims of human trafficking at the federal, regional, state, territorial, tribal, and local levels.
  2. Improve Understanding: expand and coordinate human trafficking-related research, data, and evaluation to support evidence-based practices in victim services.
  3. Expand Access to Services: Provide and promote outreach, training, and technical assistance to increase victim identification and expand the availability of services.

In January 2013, the Department of Justice released the Attorney General’s Annual Report to Congress and Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons: Fiscal Year 2011. This report highlights specific activities of and recommendations for federal agencies as they work to prevent and address cases of human trafficking and better serve those who have been victimized. Following are specific examples of OJP efforts that were highlighted:

  • BJA, in partnership with OVC, administered the Enhanced Collaborative Model to Combat Human Trafficking Grant Program, resulting in more than $5 million in awards.
  • BJA-funded task forces continued to enter data into BJS’s Human Trafficking Reporting System.
  • OVC administered its Services for Victims of Human Trafficking Grant Program to support the efforts of victim service organizations in providing timely, professional, and culturally competent services to human trafficking victims, resulting in nearly $4 million in awards.
  • In addition to providing direct services, OVC grantees enhanced the community’s capacity to identify and respond appropriately to victims of trafficking by training more than 28,000 professionals representing law enforcement, immigration attorneys, victim service providers, medical and mental health professionals, and other community- and faith-based organizations.

For a full overview of recommendations and accomplishments, see the Attorney General’s Annual Report to Congress and Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons: Fiscal Year 2011.

Public outreach efforts in the United States over the last decade have significantly increased the level of awareness of human trafficking in its various forms. While sex trafficking is currently the most recognized form of human trafficking, labor trafficking is found in almost every industry. Examples of industries where human trafficking can be found include:

  • Agricultural
  • Construction
  • Domestic servitude
  • Escort services
  • Factories
  • Hotels
  • Prostitution
  • Restaurants
  • Strip clubs

See the OVC and BJA joint resource, Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force Strategy and Operations e-Guide, for further information on different forms of trafficking and how to potentially identify victims.

To learn more about human trafficking and the specific efforts and initiatives of OJP and other federal agencies, please select a page from the listing below:

Stay Connected Rss E-mail Facebook Twitter YouTube

Go to Top
RSS E-mail Facebook Twitter YouTube