est. 2023

Policy and Legislation

Policy and Legislation

Human trafficking is a complex global issue that requires a strong legal and policy framework to combat effectively. Understanding the policies and legislation that underpin the fight against human trafficking is crucial for enforcement agencies, service providers, and the general public. This page provides an overview of the key legislative tools and policies in place to address human trafficking, as well as answers to common questions about these measures.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA)

The TVPA, enacted in 2000, is the cornerstone of federal human trafficking legislation in the United States. It established a comprehensive approach encompassing prevention, prosecution, and protection—often referred to as the “3P” paradigm. The act has been reauthorized and strengthened multiple times, reflecting the evolving understanding of human trafficking and the needs of survivors.

Congressional Priorities

The TVPA has been reauthorized with bipartisan support, demonstrating the national commitment to eradicating human trafficking. In the fiscal year 2019, Congress allocated $250 million towards anti-trafficking efforts under this framework.

Federal Anti-Trafficking Agencies

Multiple federal agencies are involved in the fight against human trafficking:
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS): Investigates sex and labor trafficking cases, particularly those involving foreign nationals.
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): Focuses on domestic minor sex trafficking cases through the Innocence Lost Initiative.
  • Department of Justice (DOJ): Leads federal prosecutions and supports state and local human trafficking task forces.
  • Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): Funds social services, awareness campaigns, and the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline.


Doing Business with the Federal Government

The federal government prohibits contracts with entities engaged in human trafficking. Contractors must have anti-trafficking plans and certify that their supply chains are trafficking-free for contracts over $500,000. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) provides the legal framework for these requirements.

Supply Chain Protections

U.S. law aims to eliminate the profit motive for labor trafficking by prohibiting the import of goods produced with trafficked labor. The Customs and Facilitations and Trade Enforcement Act and the Tariff Act of 1930 are key pieces of legislation in this effort.


The TVPA aims to prevent trafficking, protect victims, and prosecute traffickers. It provides a comprehensive strategy that includes measures for victim assistance, criminal penalties for traffickers, and preventative actions.
Federal agencies have distinct roles, from investigating and prosecuting trafficking cases to providing victim services and funding anti-trafficking operations.
Federal contractors must have anti-trafficking plans and ensure their supply chains are free from trafficking-related activities for contracts exceeding $500,000.
U.S. laws like the Tariff Act of 1930 and subsequent amendments prohibit the importation of goods produced with forced or indentured labor, reducing the incentive for labor trafficking.

Yes, human trafficking can and does occur in legal and regulated industries. It is not limited to illicit or underground markets.

By understanding the policies and legislation that address human trafficking, we can better support the systems in place to combat this crime and aid survivors. If you have more questions or need assistance, please contact the appropriate federal agency or the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

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