Today, on World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released new resources aimed at combatting human trafficking and supporting victims. The new resources include the first-ever Continued Presence Resource Guide to assist federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement agencies in supporting victims of human trafficking and advancing trafficking investigations and prosecutions. DHS is also releasing a fact sheet for the business community detailing criminal authorities used for prosecuting forced labor and related offenses in China. The fact sheet appeals to victims and witnesses of forced labor and other human rights abuses to contact DHS.
“The Department of Homeland Security is leading the fight against the horrific practices of sex trafficking and forced labor,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “As part of the Department’s victim-centered approach, we are committed to providing victims of these crimes, including noncitizen victims, support and necessary services and to seeking justice on their behalf. Components, offices, and experts across the Department are part of this critical mission. With the release of these new resources, we aim to support and inform law enforcement and businesses across the country, and to protect and assist victims of trafficking.”
Continued Presence is a temporary immigration designation provided by law enforcement to noncitizens who may be victims of human trafficking or may be witnesses in investigations, or have filed federal civil actions against their traffickers. Continued Presence is granted in two-year increments and is renewable. Recipients are also eligible for certain federal benefits and services. Continued Presence helps to alleviate victims’ fears about removal, provides victims economic security, and improves victims’ ability to seek justice against their traffickers. Learn more about the Continued Presence Resource Guide.
DHS is also releasing a fact sheet informing individuals and entities engaged in business in China of the risk of violating federal forced labor law. This advisory cautions businesses that they are responsible for the labor practices in their supply chains and informs them of the federal laws for prosecuting forced labor and related offenses. The fact sheet explains that one can face prosecution in U.S. courts and states that, “The federal crime of forced labor does not require that a defendant have imported into the United States any goods produced wholly or in part with forced labor.”
DHS operates the Center for Countering Human Trafficking (CCHT), led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). With 16 supporting offices and components, CCHT is a DHS-wide effort dedicated to bringing human traffickers to justice, protecting victims of sex trafficking and forced labor, and preventing these terrible crimes from occurring.
DHS is also home to the national public awareness campaign, the Blue Campaign. The Blue Campaign educates the public, law enforcement, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders through partnerships, advertisements, and social media about the indicators of human trafficking and how to report it.
Any victim of a federal crime, or a whistleblower or witness to a federal crime, may contact HSI by calling 866-347-2423 or completing a tip form. A crime victim’s identifying information is protected from disclosure. HSI has Victim Assistance Specialists who can inform crime victims of their rights and ability to receive benefits and services. Informants may remain confidential and may be entitled to compensation, such as a Moiety award.
Read the fact sheet on criminal authorities for enforcing forced labor.
Learn more about the DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking.
Learn more about the DHS Blue Campaign.
Learn more about T Nonimmigrant Status (“T Visa”) for victims of human trafficking.
Learn more about U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Trade, Forced Labor Program.