The Fight Against Human Trafficking: The White House’s New National Action Plan To Combat Human Trafficking

December 6, 2021

By a Biometrica staffer

In July, Biometrica wrote about how human traffickers adapted to the “new normal” after Covid-19 and appeared to be increasingly targeting children online, even as the pool of vulnerable persons who could be recruited by these criminals grew, also as a result of the pandemic. Globally, an estimated 25 million people are subjected to human trafficking and forced labor, which is responsible for an estimated $150 billion annually in illicit profits, per a White House statement.

In 2020, 11,193 situations of human trafficking were identified through the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline. On Friday, Dec. 3, the Biden administration released the new National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. The updated action plan contains 61 priority actions that will be implemented in the years to come, the administration said.

“Human trafficking is a stain on our society’s conscience and an affront to the ideals that form the basis of our national strength: liberty, justice, equality, and opportunity … Any form of trafficking in people — from forced labor to sex trafficking — must not be tolerated, in the United States or anywhere around the world,” Biden said in his opening remarks in the document.

The document was originally released in 2020, but the updated version released by the White House on Friday takes into account the predatory behavior of traffickers by addressing the needs of underserved individuals, families, and communities. The anti-trafficking efforts outlined in the National Action Plan are directly linked to broader efforts to address inequities for marginalized groups, according to a factsheet published by the administration.

In other words, the plan has mainly been updated to integrate President Joe Biden’s “core commitment to gender and racial equity,” per the transcript of a background press call.

” … we know that human trafficking disproportionately impacts racial and ethnic minorities, women and girls, LGBTQI individuals, vulnerable migrants, and others from historically marginalized and underserved communities, our mission to combat human trafficking cannot be cut off from our broader efforts to build equity for members of marginalized communities. They are inextricably linked,” Biden added in the opening remarks.

As for what remains the same from the original plan, the White House statement says, is the fact that the strategy is grounded in an integrated federal response to this crime. Human trafficking is a complex issue that cuts across many federal agencies’ mandates and requires collaboration across government bodies.

Another crucial aspect of the plan, originally and now too, is that it draws on survivor voices and recommendations over the years on how to prevent human trafficking and provide the appropriate resources to protect and respond to the needs of individuals who have experienced human trafficking.

The foundational pillars of U.S. and global anti-trafficking efforts also continue to be at the heart of the updated strategy: i.e. prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships. You can read more about the four pillars in the White House’s factsheet on the action plan here.