Recognizing the National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness with Training and Technical Assistance Opportunities and Resources

Puddles, Morse code, and milk. We celebrate them each year on January 11, yet while we are splashing our friends with puddles, learning to spell our names in Morse code, and commemorating the day when milk was first delivered in sterilized glass bottles, we are also called to acknowledge an important issue impacting thousands of people across every country: human trafficking. The U.S. Senate established the National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness by a Senate resolution in 2007 to raise awareness and opposition to human trafficking. Now part of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, recognized each year since 2011 by Presidential proclamation, this designation gives law enforcement, victim service providers, survivors, and the criminal justice community a much-needed platform through which to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking and their efforts to combat it.

In January and year-round, nearly all federal agencies play a part in addressing human trafficking. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) serves a particularly important role, bringing traffickers to justice and assisting trafficking survivors. Several important DOJ components, including the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), help investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes. Additionally, BJA has made awards to law enforcement agencies to support more than 50 multidisciplinary human trafficking task forces in partnership with the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), which provides funding and training to the victim service agencies that are key partners within these task forces. Comprised of federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and victim service providers, these task forces investigate all forms of human trafficking, emphasizing proactive investigations, victim identification, and recovery. Between fiscal years 2010 to 2015, the task forces conducted more than 5,500 investigations that resulted in the identification of more than 2,000 victims and the prosecution of more than 1,500 traffickers.

At the BJA National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC), we are proud to support these efforts by facilitating training and technical assistance (TTA) as well as by directing requestors to the anti-trafficking resources they need. From January to June 2017, BJA NTTAC provided ongoing guidance to BJA in developing the curriculum for a new training program for law enforcement and prosecutors on the investigation and prosecution of labor trafficking. In February 2018, BJA NTTAC supported the DOJ Human Trafficking Summit, which discussed effective law enforcement strategies, victim empowerment, engagement with the business community, and DOJ grant opportunities. Additionally, BJA NTTAC has directly assisted agencies in developing connections with anti-human trafficking task forces and victim service providers through the identification of training, funding opportunities, and local partners to meet specific communities’ needs.

With so many federal agencies and components within those agencies supporting anti-trafficking efforts, it can be challenging to find the right resource or tap into the right funding stream. BJA NTTAC is committed to providing justice agencies with not only TTA services, but also resources and connections to others in the field.

In the spirit of this commitment, below is a list of resources that may help your organization learn more about human trafficking, identify resources, and seek TTA opportunities beyond BJA NTTAC as we shine a light on the issue throughout January:

  • The OJP Human Trafficking Task Force e-Guide, developed in partnership by BJA and OVC, provides guidance on the day-to-day operations of anti-human trafficking task forces to agencies seeking to form a task force, as well as to established task forces, to help support victim-centered approaches and practices.
  • The BJA Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force Initiative supports the development and enhancement of multidisciplinary human trafficking task forces that implement collaborative approaches to combating all forms of human trafficking and offers a variety of specialized TTA opportunities to grantees.
  • The National Human Trafficking Hotline, operated by Polaris, is available to provide human trafficking victims and survivors with access to critical support and services to get help and stay safe, and to equip the anti-trafficking community with the tools to effectively combat all forms of human trafficking, including information, statistics, and resources on a wide range of topics related to human trafficking.
  • The Office of the Administration for Children and FamiliesNational Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center applies a public health approach to help build the health and human services capacity of professionals to increase victim identification and strengthen the health and well-being of survivors through coordinated training efforts.
  • The OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center offers training, customized technical assistance, speaker support, professional development scholarships, and admission to the National Victim Assistance Academy for those who provide services to crime victims, including victims of human trafficking.

If your jurisdiction is in need of training or technical assistance related to combating human trafficking, or if you know of a community that would benefit from this type of assistance, please contact BJA NTTAC at BJANTTAC@ojp.usdoj.gov.

If you are interested in submitting the work of your organization or jurisdiction for consideration in a future TTA Today blog post or in obtaining information related to a particular topic area, please email us at BJANTTAC@ojp.usdoj.gov.

Points of view or opinions on BJA NTTAC’s TTA Today blog are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice, BJA, or BJA NTTAC.