Implications of Human Trafficking Federal Strategic Action Plan
Mary Atlas-Terry, Corey Walz, Katherine Chon  -  2014/1/29
http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ovcproviderforum
 
 
What is the Federal Strategic Action Plan?
 
1.  Mary OVC
 The Plan is the first coordinated strategic action plan across Federal agencies to strengthen services to victims of human trafficking in the U.S. The Plan lists concrete and realistic actions that the Federal government agencies will take over the next 5 years.
 
2.  Mary, OVC
 The Plan is available online at www.ovc.gov/pubs/FederalHumanTraffickingStrategicPlan.pdf
 
3.  Mary, OVC
 The Federal Strategic Action Plan lays out four goals, eight objectives, and more than 250 associated action items for victim service improvements that can be achieved during the next five years. The four overarching goals are to 1.) align efforts; 2) improve understanding; 3.) expand access to services; and 4.) improve outcomes.
 
 
How does the plan help victims?
 
1.  Katherine, HHS
 The Plan envisions that every victim of human trafficking is identified and provided access to the services they need to recover and rebuild their lives through the creation of a responsive, sustainable, comprehensive, and trauma-informed services network that leverages public and private partnerships and resources effectively. The Plan lists concrete and realistic actions that the Federal government will take over the next five years in a format that is transparent and user-friendly.
 
 
How can my agency/organization partner with the Federal government on the action items?
 
1.  Corey, DHS
 If youre interested in partnering with DHS, send us an email at BlueCampaign@hq.dhs.gov and we will work with you.
 
2.  karinemt
 I am working with the psychiatrists who are interested in partnering with the federal government. can you please explain how to do this?
 
3.  Corey, DHS
 The DHS Blue Campaign partners with private sector, non-profit organizations, and other government agencies. Contact us at BlueCampaign@hq.dhs.gov
 
4.  Katherine, HHS
 The Plan encourages collaboration and coordination with non-federal and nongovernmental organizations. Stakeholders can review the action items and reach out to the relevant federal agency or agencies involved in implementing the action item to identify areas of collaboration and coordination.
 
 
How will the government report on the action items within the Plan?
 
1.  Katherine, HHS
 The federal government will report on progress made on implementing the Plan on an annual basis through the Presidentís Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. The Plan identifies the specific federal agencies and timelines for implementation of action items in the appendix to increase transparency.
 
 
There appears to be a lack of resources specifically for sex trafficking victims. Mainly for short term or long term housing, medical care and case workers/case plans specifically tailored to fit the needs of transition. Is there a plan in place for funding for resources? If so, please let us know what is in the works.
 
1.  Dimple A. Smith
 Mary, I am elated to hear about the improvement plan for availability of resources fro victims. Leah, I would love to hear more about how you worked with the coalition to link services for victims.
 
2.  Leah Vallone
 I am so glad to hear that the services are being worked on. We have established a Coalition, originating from the Project to End Human Trafficking and now evolving into the Western PA Human Trafficking Coalition that assist Survivors and raises awareness in Pittsburgh. It also links Law Enforcement, Social Services, religious, medical, etc. together so we can assist survivors in with needs. However, we can only do it on a short term basis and depending on situations there is a continuous need. The resources are just not there, and this is wonderful news that is working towards helping survivors.
 
3.  Mary, OVC
 The Plan describes many action items that, taken together, will improve the availability of resources. For example, on page 15, there is mention of efforts to ensure that federal funding is strategically coordianted. On page 20 there are efforts listed that will help identify resource gaps, so that the federal government has better understanding of where resources need to be directed. Starting on page 40, there are efforts to develop networks to increase access to services for victims.
 
4.  Mary, OVC
 We agree that there is a lack of resources for victims of human trafficking and the resources that are currently available are not always coordinated. In addition, service providers currently working with victims could use more training and technical assistance. This is something that the Plan is hoping to address.
 
 
I write about the connection between human trafficking and adoption, when money is paid for infants using adoption agencies both nationally and internationally. What is being done to address this?
 
1.  Mary, OVC
 The Federal Strategic Action Plan describes action items that the federal government will take to improve services for victims of human trafficking. The activities are centered around the U.S.definition of human trafficking as outlined in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which includes compelling individuals into forced labor or commercial sex acts. To my knowledge, issues about adoption of infants have not been discussed within our interagency meetings. That said, if you believe a crime of any kind has occured, please contact local or federal law enforcement, and/or the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
 
 
What resources are out there on how child serving professionals can identify victims of human trafficking? Is someone working to identify and create tools for this?
 
1.  Mary, OVC
 The IOA resource just mentioned is excellent. It includes tools and resources that are helpful for child serving professionals. I addition, the OVC Training and Techncial Assistance Center (OVC TTAC) will respond to specific training or technical assistance requests. Visit their website at www.ovcttac.gov, or email request to humantrafficking@ovcttac.org
 
2.  Summar Ghias
 The International Organization for Adolescents has several screening tools for child serving professionals to use to identify child victims of human trafficking in our Building Child Welfare Response to Child Trafficking Handbook. You can access the handbook and the aforementioned tools here: http://iofa.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=138
 
3.  Katherine, HHS
 The Administration for Children and Families has a number of resources available to strengthen services to child trafficking victims. Please reference following links (1) Guidance on Child Trafficking --> http://www.acf.hhs.gov/blog/2013/09/much-anticipated-child-welfare-guidance-on-human-trafficking-released (2)Additional List of Resources --> http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/endtrafficking/resources
 
 
Are service providers going to see the benefit of some of these initiatives?
 
1.  Katherine, HHS
 Service providers will be benefiting from many of the action items, including those related to increasing training and technical assistance, strengthening capacity and coordination, informing promising and effective practices from research, and providing relevant grant funding to strengthen services to victims of human trafficking.
 
 
Are there plans to make coordinating between State and Federal laws easier for survivors with multiple legal issues, including immigration?
 
1.  Mary, OVC
 The federal agencies are in agreement with you that the legal needs of trafficking victims are often complex. Please see page 42 of the Plan, where it outlines some action items that are intended to improve victims access to services and benefits through comprehensive legal services.
 
2.  Corey, DHS
 Additionally, Continued Presence (CP) is a temporary immigration status provided to individuals identified by law enforcement as victims of human trafficking. This status allows victims of human trafficking to remain in the U.S. temporarily during the ongoing investigation into the human trafficking-related crimes committed against them. CP is initially granted for one year and may be renewed in one-year increments.
 
3.  Corey, DHS
 I apologize that I cannot speak to how State and Local laws interact as each state law pertaining to trafficking is different. From a federal perspective, trafficking victims are eligible to self-petition to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)for T and U nonimmigrant status which permits them to remain in the U.S. for up to four years and can lead to lawful permanent residence. These applications may require a law enforcement certification. Federal, state and local law enforcement should, upon request, provide law enforcement certifications for human trafficking victims. USCIS will complete a comprehensive review of these applications prior to adjudication.
 
 
How will the Plan support rural communities response to Human Trafficking?
 
1.  Corey, DHS
 The plan encourages collaboration between federal, state, local, tribal and territorial governments. While we do not reference rural community specifically, we aim to address awareness, training for law enforcement, funding service providers nationally. I would encourage you to visit the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center's or the Blue Campaign website for informational videos, free phamplets and other materials. They can be accessed at www.fletc.gov or www.dhs.gov\BlueCampaign
 
 
What new funding streams are available to provide housing and other services to victims?
 
1.  Katherine, HHS
 Since victims and survivors of human trafficking intersect with many existing programs and services across the Administration for Children and Families at HHS, we will identify ways to strengthen coordination and collaboration across multiple programs to meet the diverse needs of victims within existing funds until new funds become available.
 
2.  Mary, OVC
 I am not aware of any NEW funding streams that will be made available, particularly in the short term; however, the Plan does include detailed action items to increase the resources that are available to victims of human trafficking. For example, please see page 42 of the Plan, where it describes some activities that the federal government will take to improve access to services and benefits in the area of housing.
 
 
I skimmed through the action plan and do not see much on efforts to prevent people (youth and adults) from being vulnerable to trafficking. Will you please speak to efforts that are directed at preventing people from being exploited in the first place and needing victim services.
 
1.  leah
 Thank you for your response. Based on the literature, key themes such as poverty, access to basic human rights (housing, education, health care) are routinely cited as vulnerability factors. I have yet to see a unified national effort at addressing these root factors. Do you have any insight on prevention efforts that address these macro issues?
 
2.  Katherine, HHS
 Addressing human trafficking through prevention, along with other types of intervention, are critical elements in the U.S. Governmentís comprehensive approach to combating all forms of human trafficking. However, those elements are beyond the scope of this Plan. Human trafficking is a complex issue and the Presidentís charge was to focus intensively on improving and expanding access to victim services. Thus, many critical federal efforts are outside of the scope of the Plan and were not included in the document.
 
 
What is the progress on the Forensic Interviewer training outlined in the plan?
 
1.  Mary OVC
 The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has funded the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to develop a training curriculum for forensic interviewers to work with child victims of sex trafficking. NCMEC is hoping to offer the training course this summer.
 
 
What about the criminal justice response. What is the appropriate Juvenile Justice response to victims?
 
1.  Katherine, HHS
 The Federal Strategic Action Plan also includes action items on the coordination of responses to human trafficking between juvenile justice, child welfare, and other community systems intersecting with potential victims of human trafficking.
 
2.  Mary, OVC
 Many cities are developing collaborative partnerships between law enforcmeent, criminal and juvenile justice agencies and victim service providers. Some jurisdictions formalize these partnerships into Anti-Trafficking Task Forces. Consider exploring the Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force Strategy and Operations E-Guide for information about promising practices. The E-Guide is available on line at www.ovcttac.gov/TaskForceGuide/index.cfm
 
3.  Mary, OVC
 Please see activities associated with Objective 5, starting on page 25, related to increasing victim identification. Also Objective 6, page 32 where it includes action items related to training and technical assistance to law enforcement and criminal justice professionals.
 
4.  Mary, OVC
 While the Plan's intent is to focus on improvements in service delivery for victims of human trafficking, it touches on issues related the need for all professionals who might engage with survivors, to be better able to identify those individuals and refer them for services. There is a particular focus on improving the ability of law enforcement to identify victims, so that they can be refered to services, as opposed to being treated as criminals.
 
 
As a result of the Action Plan, the Urban Institute will be conducting a study that measures the size of the unlawful commercial sex economy in selected US communities. Do you know if this study encompasses the demand for purchased sex as well as the supply?
 
1.  Mary, OVC
 We checked with our friends at the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to get an update on this. The study in question calculates an economic estimate of the size of the unlawful commercial sex economy for 8 cities in the US. It does not differentiate supply from demand, but rather arrives at a US dollar estimate. The narrative sections of the final report delve more deeply into the elements driving demand for sex, but this is not a stated focus of the study.
 
 
Law enforcement, first responders, NGO members, prosecutors etc are often reluctant to work on these cases because the crimes are so deplorable. For those who do work on such investigations, does the plan envision identifying what, if any, services should be provided to those who, because of their jobs, vicariously learn and experience the abuse victims experience? Does the plan envision determining the needs of those who work on these cases?
 
1.  Mary, OVC
 I want to reinforce Katherine's comment indicating that our goal is to help create a stronger network of services and programs that are "truama-informed", and that includes a focus on identifying the impact of trauma on the professionals who work within those critically needed programs. While the Plan may not specifically mention all efforts federal agencies are currently undertaking, it is indeed an area that we are working to address across many of our programs. For example, the OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center currently offers a "Training Upon Request" on the topic of "Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma", for any organization that is working with victims of crime. If you know of other resources for this kind of training, please post. Thank you!
 
2.  Katherine, HHS
 The vision and values underlying the Plan is to build more trauma-informed service networks, which includes services to victims and survivors, as well as increased trauma-informed support for the professionals and organizations providing the services (See page 10 in the Plan)
 
 
I am a physician. Is there a federal training program for health care professionals and hospitals?
 
1.  Kathi West
 Yes, our Central TX Coalition Against Human Trafficking has coordinated with the Seton Hospitals CommUnity Care Clinic to operate the Hope Through Health Clinic. Contact person is Corinna Jay or Kay Mailander at Refugee Services of TX, (512) 472-9472. The Univ. of TX, Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault program at the School of SW was also instrumental in starting the clinic and training the medical staff.
 
2.  Katherine, HHS
 HHS announced a new health and human trafficking initiative in October 2013, seeking to create training resources for health care professionals, provide guidance on protocols and referral mechanisms, conduct pilot trainings and evaluations. You can learn more about the background of the initiative at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/blog/2013/10/hhs-announces-new-action-on-health-and-human-trafficking-at-clinton-global
 
3.  Mary, OVC
 Consider reviewing the resources that were developed specifically for health care professionals through the Department of Health and Human Services' Rescue and Restore Campaign. Look online for the "Campaign Toolkit for Health Care Providers" www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr/resource/rescue-restore-campaign-tool-kits
 
4.  Mary, OVC
 I am not aware of a federally funded curriculum or formal training program for medical profssionals; however, please see page 37 of the Strategic Action Plan. There are several items related to training and assisting allied professionals, including health care systems.
 
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