Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain labor or other sorts of acts. Throughout the United States, millions of people are trafficked and there is a wide range of misconceptions that make efforts to combat human trafficking more difficult. Combatting human trafficking was the focus of a meeting of the United States House Subcommittee on Intelligence & Counter-Terrorism hearing that took place on Monday, Oct 28, 2019. This subcommittee meeting took place outside of Washington D.C.—instead it took place in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss human trafficking and how to combat it effectively, something which requires close cooperation between law enforcement and the assorted organizations that aid the victims of human trafficking.
The subcommittee heard expert testimony in the form of four experts on human trafficking. One of the four witnesses, State Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Carl Wall II, had strong words to describe the scope of human trafficking.
“It is like no other. We in law enforcement must work together and with the NGO’s [non-governmental organizations] to conduct a successful investigation,” said Wall. “It is one of the only crimes that law enforcement needs and relies on others for a successful case.”
The two congressmen leading the hearing, North Carolina Congressman Mark Walker and New York Representative Max Rose, were curious as to how North Carolina compared to other states with regards to dealing with human trafficking.
It seems as though North Carolina lags behind other states, some of which have set up task forces and have been actively pushing back against human trafficking.
“We’re a little behind,” said Wall. “A lot of the other states that have established this and understood what human trafficking is and standing up task forces and really getting together and pushing forward. We’re at the ground level.”
This meeting happened the day before the White House website was updated with a new briefing outlining the intention of the Trump administration to combat human trafficking, aid survivors and victims and punish traffickers. The newest addition to the section of the website that covered briefings and statements outlined the various ways in which the federal government has been attempting to monitor and combat human trafficking.
One of the most significant efforts by the federal government to combat human trafficking was the creation of the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, an agency created by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. The collaboration consists of over a dozen departments and agencies across the federal government.
Another effort is the Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team initiative, an Obama-era initiative that was launched in the wake of the coordination of efforts by the then-Attorney General, Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Labor, for the sake of streamlining rapidly expanding interagency human trafficking enforcement efforts. This initiative has resulted in federal law enforcement seeing an increase in the number of convictions of human traffickers, and in ACTeam districts the increase in defendants charged with human trafficking has totaled around 75 percent.