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Fight Against Human Trafficking Starts at Local Level

Every year, the United States Department of State issues the Trafficking in Persons Report, or TIP Report, which evaluates the anti-trafficking efforts of 187 countries and territories, including the United States. The report places them on one of four tiers, depending on government efforts in prosecuting traffickers, protecting victims, and preventing the crime.

The theme of this year's TIP Report is “Local Solutions to a Global Problem: Supporting Communities in the Fight Against Human Trafficking.” That's because local communities feel the impact and consequences of human trafficking most acutely. Their stake in keeping their community safe, as well as their familiarity with local trafficking trends, make them indispensable to the fight against modern slavery.

“With an estimated 25 million victims, human trafficking persists globally, in defiance of all borders,” said Acting Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Kari Johnstone in a recent blog post.

“It is important to remember, however, that despite its pernicious global sweep, human trafficking happens in local communities,” said Acting Director Johnstone. “Traffickers operate with an innate understanding of the political, social, economic, and cultural contours of a local community. They exploit weaknesses in protection and take advantage of the hopes and fears of their victims.

“Addressing these issues can be difficult from a distance, so national governments should draw on the experience and know-how of local leaders, Non Governmental Organizations and advocates, and individual community members, all of whom have a sincere stake in seeing the end of human trafficking in the places they call home.”

“By engaging and training law enforcement, religious leaders, teachers, tribal elders, business executives, and communities, we become more vigilant and learn to identify and address vulnerabilities swiftly. Proactive community-driven measures strengthen our ability to protect our most vulnerable and weaken a criminal's ability to infiltrate, recruit, and exploit,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

"If we're going to win this fight, national governments must empower local communities to proactively identify human trafficking and develop local solutions to address it.”

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