Human trafficking is the exploitation of a person typically through force, fraud or coercion for purposes such as forced labor or commercial sex, and it involves vulnerable populations including Native Americans. Several components within DOJ, DHS, and the Department of Interior investigate and prosecute human trafficking in Indian country, and federal agencies provide grant funding to support efforts to combat trafficking and assist victims.
This testimony focuses on trafficking occurring in Indian country or involving Native Americans and addresses the extent to which: (1) federal agencies collect and maintain data on investigations and prosecutions; (2) tribal and major city LEAs encounter trafficking and the factors that affect their ability to investigate and prosecute such activities; and, (3) federal grant programs are available to help address trafficking and how well the granting agencies are positioned to know the number of victims served. This testimony is based on GAO reports issued in March and July 2017. To do this work GAO reviewed federal trafficking data and conducted three surveys. We surveyed the 203 known tribal LEAs, 86 major city LEAs, and 315 victim service provider organizations that received fiscal year 2015 DOJ or HHS grants that could be used to assist human trafficking victims.