The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), part of the Office of Justice Programs at the U.S. Department of Justice, works to enhance the Nation’s capacity to assist crime victims and to provide leadership in changing attitudes, policies, and practices in ways that will promote justice and healing for all victims.
In this capacity, OVC strives to uphold the intent of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 and its subsequent authorizations to ensure that all trafficking victims—regardless of immigration status, gender, or form of trafficking—receive support in accessing the services they need to heal in the aftermath of crime victimization.
OVC supports efforts to combat human trafficking in a few ways.
With Grant Funding
- With funding appropriated through TVPA, OVC administers grant funding to support services for victims of human trafficking.
- The Services for Victims of Human Trafficking Program awards funding for victim-serving organizations to provide either comprehensive services—including shelter, advocacy, and health care—or specialized legal or mental health services.
- Three years ago, OVC and BJA developed the Enhanced Collaborative Model To Combat Human Trafficking, which requires law enforcement and victim organizations in the same region to demonstrate a coordinated, victim-centered community response to trafficking cases.
- Through the Domestic Minor Victims of Human Trafficking Demonstration Project, OVC provided funding to implement a comprehensive strategy for serving trafficking victims under age 18 who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents by identifying promising practices for providing wraparound services to young victims of forced labor or sex trafficking, including commercial sexual exploitation.
With a Legal Assistance Capacity Building Initiative
- OVC emphasizes the importance of ensuring victims’ access to justice through comprehensive, no-cost legal assistance.
- Through the Services for Victims of Human Trafficking Program, comprehensive service model grantees help trafficking victims gain access to legal assistance on immigration matters and other civil legal remedies, and provide general legal advocacy on matters that arise as a result of the human trafficking situation.
- Through the Legal Assistance Capacity Building Initiative, OVC TTAC—with the National Crime Victim Law Institute as primary consultant—collaborates with legally and professionally affiliated organizations to build the capacity of attorneys who are willing to provide pro bono legal assistance to victims, including cases involving trafficking.
- Through the Wraparound Victim Legal Assistance Network Demonstration Project, OVC is supporting six jurisdictions as they establish comprehensive legal assistance networks to provide essential legal assistance for crime victims, including victims of trafficking.
With Training and Technical Assistance
- Through the OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center, OVC helps to build the capacity to improve the response to victims of human trafficking.
- OVC TTAC’s Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Initiative has three priorities to—
- Strengthen law enforcement and victim service provider collaboration.
- Support integration of human trafficking expertise into the knowledge base of traditional victim service providers and other allied professionals.
- Grow the capacity of OVC grantees to serve all victims of human trafficking.
- The Human Trafficking Task Force e-Guide provides practical information on the creation and day-to-day operations of anti-human trafficking task forces, with recent case examples.
- OVC TTAC offers Professional Development Scholarships of up to $1,000 for individuals and up to $5,000 for multidisciplinary teams of victim service professionals seeking continuing education opportunities.
- OVC provides leadership in the field of victim services, including human trafficking.
- As the U.S. Department of Justice co-chair representative on the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, OVC staff provided considerable input on Coordination, Collaboration, Capacity: Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States, 2013–2017. This plan reaffirms the American values of freedom and equality and builds on the progress that our Nation has made in combating human trafficking and modern-day forms of slavery through government action and partnerships with allied professionals and concerned citizens.
- OVC launched the Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services initiative in 2010 to expand the vision and impact of the crime victim assistance field. The Vision 21 Final Report provides a set of findings and broad recommendations—informed by stakeholder forums and literature reviews—that serve as a framework for strategic, transformative change. The Final Report outlines ways the victim services field can overcome the obstacles it faces, change how it meets victims’ needs, and addresses those who perpetrate crime.
Learn more about OVC’s initiatives and priorities by viewing the Fact Sheet on Recent Justice Department Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking (PDF 77 kb), visiting the OVC website, and reading the 2015 OVC Report to the Nation.