Merrick Garland announces new Justice Department efforts to fight human trafficking

"Human trafficking is an insidious crime," attorney general said in a press release.

Updated: February 3, 2022 - 11:31pm

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Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday announced the "National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking," which seeks to enhance the Department of Justice's capacity to prevent trafficking and prosecute cases.

"Human trafficking is an insidious crime," Garland said in a press release. "Traffickers exploit and endanger some of the most vulnerable members of our society and cause their victims unimaginable harm. The Justice Department's new National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking will bring the full force of the Department to this fight."

The agency announced that the plan will provide support and protection to trafficking survivors by referring them "to victim-centric direct services" and "supporting efforts to deliver financial restoration to victims." 

In order to ensure that law enforcement will be better equipped to identify potential victims, the DOJ plans to develop a victim screening protocol.

"Human traffickers prey on society's most vulnerable members and their crimes equate to modern-day slavery," U.S. Attorney Duane Evans wrote in a statement. "These crimes often are not detected because victims live in fear of physical abuse, threats, extortion, and other forms of intimidation."

The DOJ plans to create anti-human-trafficking task forces that are federally funded but locally led.

"Only through this type of holistic approach can we reduce the compounded threat that human trafficking poses to our border security, rule of law, and economy," the DOJ report states.