The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) opened the Center for Countering Human Trafficking, the U.S. government’s first law enforcement operations center directly related to human trafficking and forced labor.
The center is based in Washington and is led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It will be staffed with law enforcement officials from DHS and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), as well as subject matter experts and support staff. The center’s mission is focused on the four Ps — prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships.
“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. There is no other way to say it,” Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said. “The words are strong because the actions are evil. The forms of exploitation, sex trafficking, forced labor, and domestic servitude that constitute human trafficking are antithetical in every way to the principles of human dignity that Americans hold dear. The launch of this Center for Countering Human Trafficking represents the investment of resources, attention, and time by President Trump to combat and dismantle all forms of human trafficking.”
In 2019, ICE initiated 1,024 human trafficking and forced labor-related cases, which led to 2,197 arrests. These actions resulted in nearly 700 convictions and the rescue of more than 400 victims.
“Human Trafficking, whether through sex or labor, is a detriment to our society and threatens the moral conscience of our nation. Criminal organizations target those who are most vulnerable and exploit them through any means necessary. Victims are treated as commodities rather than human beings, with no regard for their health and well-being,” ICE Senior Official Performing the Duties of Director Tony Pham said. “ICE, along with our internal and external partners, will continue to fight against these atrocities and answer victims’ cries for help. The Center for Countering Human Trafficking will serve as evidence that when we work collectively against such heinous acts, we combat the threat they pose to national security and to public safety.”