Freedom Network USA (FNUSA) acknowledges the continued efforts of the US Government to improve upon its commitment to address human trafficking, both here and abroad. FNUSA is pleased that an assessment of anti-trafficking efforts in the US will continue to be incorporated into the 2020 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. In recognition of the 20th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) and the adoption of the United Nations Palermo Protocol we would like to reflect on the challenges and weaknesses that remain in the US’ efforts and the opportunities that lie ahead.
FNUSA, established in 2001, is a coalition of 68 non-governmental organizations and individuals that provide services to, and advocate for the rights of, trafficking survivors in the US. Since the enactment of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), FNUSA members have worked to ensure that trafficking survivors receive the full array of legal and social services needed, and that they are engaged in ensuring effective implementation of the law. FNUSA members include: survivors who experienced both sex and labor trafficking in the US, prosecutors who have criminally prosecuted sex and labor trafficking cases, civil attorneys who have brought cutting-edge lawsuits against traffickers, criminal attorneys who have represented survivors wrongly charged with a crime, immigration attorneys who have represented hundreds of individuals granted T and U visas, and social service providers who have assisted thousands of survivors — both US citizens and foreign nationals, minors and adults, across the gender spectrum.
We write to offer information about the successes as well as challenges facing the US Government in our shared mission to address human trafficking in the US. Overall, we note that the US Government data and efforts show a net reduction in efforts and impact to prevent human trafficking, protect survivors, and to prosecute traffickers. We note this trend with great concern and dismay, and urge the State Department to carefully consider these trends when considering the Tier ranking for the US for 2020. Although our comments are not an exhaustive list of all of the US Government efforts that impact human trafficking, we focus on the most salient in this list.
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