Law and Policy

Laws on labor, immigration, partner violence, sex work, and the most basic human rights affect the prospects of trafficked persons and their traffickers. Policy makers influence the many faces of human trafficking both intentionally and unintentionally, and even directed anti-trafficking initiatives can have unintended consequences.

Attorney Generals of the United States
The Attorneys General of 42 U.S. states have created task forces with funding from the Federal Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime and the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Information on anti-trafficking initiatives in some of these states can be accessed below:
New Mexico
New York
South Carolina

Obama Administration Human Trafficking Fact-Sheet
President Obama’s landmark speech against modern slavery had bi-partisan support and is significant for strengthening the zero-tolerance policy on human trafficking on federal, state, and local levels, including US governmental overseas subcontractors.The speech also proposed to support training of personnel who are likely to come into contact with trafficked persons. Additional resources will be channeled to combatting the problem, and a strategic action plan will be developed.
Scope: United States
History:September 25, 2012
Link:Obama Administration Human Trafficking Fact-Sheet

Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children a.k.a. Palermo Protocol
Supplements the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. The first global, legally binding instrument with an agreed definition on trafficking in persons. Encourages a “3P” approach of Prevention, Victim Protection, and Prosecution to combating trafficking.
Scope: International
History: Signed in 2000, entered into force in December 2003

T-Visa for Trafficking Victims
The T-Visa is a visa for immigrants who have been trafficked and are involved in an investigative case against their traffickers. Individuals must apply for the T-Visa.
Scope: United States
History: Introduced in October 2000

Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 a.k.a. TVPA
This act, a division of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-386), is the first law expressly combating trafficking to be passed in the United States. The act serves as a model to be expanded upon by individual states. The TVPA defines human trafficking, establishes an annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report and an inter-agency anti-trafficking task force, guarantees survivors’ services and support, and urges the prosecution and punishment of traffickers.
Scope: United States, individual states
History: Signed into law in January 2000.