On human rights, the United States must be a beacon. America is strongest when our policies and actions match our values.More
Home / Resource / Letter / Letter to Appropriations Subcommittee Requesting Increased Funding for Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit
March 23, 2016

Letter to Appropriations Subcommittee Requesting Increased Funding for Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit

March 18, 2016

The Honorable Richard C. Shelby

Chairman

Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies

U.S. Senate

Washington, DC 20510

 

The Honorable John Culberson

Chairman

Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Barbara Mikulski

Ranking Member

Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies

U.S. Senate

Washington, DC 20510

 

The Honorable Chaka Fattah        

Ranking Member

Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairmen Shelby and Culberson and Ranking Members Mikulski and Fattah:

As leaders in the business and financial sectors, law enforcement, the military, federal, state and local government, and the civil and human rights community, we write to urge you to support critical anti-human trafficking programs aimed at disrupting the business of trafficking by funding the Department of Justice’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit at $8.1 million.

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, and it is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. The United States is a source, transit, and destination country in the global human trafficking business, and American leadership is critical in combating this scourge. Our country has taken many important steps, including enacting and reauthorizing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 and acceding to the Palermo Protocol to the Transnational Crime Convention in 2005. But the numbers of victims—and the profits made by exploiting them—have continued to rise.

The U.S. government, private sector, and civil society must work together to reverse this trend. There are an estimated 20.9 million victims of modern-day slavery around the world today, generating $150 billion annually in illicit profits. The State Department’s most recent annual Trafficking in Persons report shows there were fewer than 4,500 convictions globally and only 184 convictions here in the United States in 2014. Most traffickers operate with relative impunity. While it is essential to invest in the care and rehabilitation of victims, without also significantly increasing the legal risks to traffickers, we face a situation in which every victim rescued is simply replaced with a new victim.

To this end, we request $8,100,000 for the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.

Within the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Civil Rights Division, the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit (HTPU) has seen a 62% increase in cases filed in the last five years (FY 2011-2015) over the previous five years (FY 2006-2010). Despite this significant increase in case load, funding for the HTPU has been flat at $5.3 million since FY 2010.

HTPU also leads twelve Anti-Trafficking Coordination Teams (ACTeams) to enhance coordination with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Labor (DOL). The ACTeams were piloted in six districts from FYs 2012-2013. Districts with ACTeams saw a 119% increase in cases filed, compared to only an 18% increase outside of ACTeam districts. Similarly, convictions of human trafficking defendants increased by 86% in ACTeam districts compared to only a 14% increase outside of ACTeam districts. These teams have been critical to streamlining communication between agencies and proactively investigating new human trafficking cases. Last June, DOJ, DHS and DOL added six additional teams.

We request this increase to the General Legal Activities account to keep pace with HTPU’s increasing workload and to ensure that the office is able to take on more complex cases. With a modest increase of $2.8 million (up to $8.1 million) in funding, HTPU estimates it could hire an additional eighteen attorneys and projects it could increase the number of trafficking matters opened by 93% and the number of trafficking defendants charged by 49% over a two year period.

To end the scourge of modern slavery, we must put exploiters out of business and bring them to justice. Right now, funding for this effort is not commensurate with the scope and severity of the challenge. To rectify that, we respectfully urge you to fully fund this unit at $8.1 million.

Thank you for your leadership and continued commitment to end modern slavery.

 

Respectfully,

 

GENERAL CHARLES C. KRULAK, USMC (RET.)

Former President, Birmingham-Southern College

Former Commandant, United States Marine Corps

 

ERNIE ALLEN

Principal, Allen Global Consulting LLC

 

ANITA ALVAREZ

State’s Attorney, Cook County, Illinois

 

DAVID ARKLESS

President, International, CDI Corporation

Founding Counselor and Former Co-Chair, Global Business Coalition Against Trafficking

THE HONORABLE LOUIS J. FREEH

Chairman, Freeh Group International Solutions

Former Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation

 

LAUREL BELLOWS

Founding Managing Principal, The Bellows Law Group

Past President, American Bar Association

 

FRAN DELLA BADIA

Retail Executive, Former President, North American Retail, Coach, Inc.

 

THE HONORABLE WILLIAM A. BELL

Mayor, Birmingham, Alabama

 

THE HONORABLE MARK P. LAGON

Former Ambassador, United States Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

 

AMY LYONS

Former Assistant Director, Federal Bureau of Investigations

 

ELISA MASSIMINO

President and CEO, Human Rights First

 

MARILYN CARLSON NELSON

Former Chairman and CEO, Carlson

 

JOHN PEPPER

Honorary Co-Chair, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Former CEO, Procter & Gamble

 

LISA PRAGER

Partner, Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP

Former Acting Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement, United States Department of Commerce

 

BART SCHWARTZ

Chairman, Guidepost Solutions LLC

 

Download