Countering Trafficking in Persons

Speeches Shim

Human Trafficking, person carrying bricks
REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Human Trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons, involves the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons through force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of exploitation in forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation. Human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry worldwide and affects the most vulnerable in our societies, with more than 25 million people enslaved. Seventy percent of identified victims are women and girls. These horrific practices undermine the rule of law, corrupt global commerce, foster gender inequality, and threaten global security.

Since 2001, USAID has provided over $340 million in assistance to 83 countries and regions to fight human trafficking. We integrate our counter-trafficking efforts across Bureaus and sectors in coordination with the U.S. Government interagency and multiple external stakeholders. USAID’s Counter-Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) approach follows the 4Ps: Prevention of trafficking, Protection of victims and survivors, Prosecution of traffickers, and Partnerships for a strengthened response.

In 2011, USAID adopted a C-TIP Code of Conduct that prohibits all employees, contractors, subcontractors, grantees, and subgrantees from engaging in behaviors that facilitate or support TIP. All Agency employees are required to take the C-TIP Code of Conduct: Accountability in Action training. This 45-minute online training educates Agency personnel about what trafficking is and their responsibilities under the Code to help combat it; USAID personnel can access this training via USAID University. USAID also developed standard operating procedures to prevent and respond to human trafficking abuses by USAID contractors, sub-contractors, assistance recipients, and sub-recipients.

In 2012, USAID released its first comprehensive C-TIP Policy. This Policy was revised in 2021 to update the agency’s C-TIP efforts.

In 2013, USAID published a C-TIP Field Guide [PDF, 1.2MB] to educate USAID Mission personnel and partners about human trafficking and provide technical assistance to integrate, design, implement and monitor effective C-TIP programs.

USAID is one of several U.S. government departments and agencies tasked with implementing C-TIP activities. The Agency participates in the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking (PITF), a Cabinet-level entity created by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) to coordinate federal efforts to combat trafficking in persons. The PITF meets annually and is chaired by the Secretary of State. USAID is also a member of the Senior Policy Operating Group to Combat Trafficking in Persons (SPOG), a quarterly interagency convening established by the 2003 Reauthorization of the TVPA to implement the vision of the PITF.

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  • Africa – Poor economic conditions and weak governance and rights environments result in TIP in industries such as fishing, cocoa, and mining. USAID supports TIP prevention, protection, and prosecution activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Senegal, and Rwanda and has integrated C-TIP into development sector projects in Ghana and Mali.
  • Asia – The Agency currently supports C-TIP activities in Nepal, Burma, Philippines, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, all five Central Asian Republics, and an Asia regional activity managed by the Regional Development Mission for Asia. In Bangladesh, USAID focuses on promoting safe migration. In Nepal, USAID fosters collaborative partnerships among government, private sector, and civil society stakeholders to improve foreign labor recruitment and mitigate TIP incidents, raise public awareness on countering human trafficking and safe migration, and enable survivors to access justice, among others.
  • Europe & Eurasia – Since the collapse of communism, the region became increasingly a C-TIP focus area for USAID when several countries experienced an increase in trafficking as they opened their borders. USAID investments have primarily related to prevention and victim support in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, and select countries of the former Soviet Union, including Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Bosnia, and Azerbaijan.
  • Latin America and Caribbean – USAID’s approach to youth and citizen security programming in the northern triangle region of Central America addresses root issues related to unsafe migration to reduce vulnerability to TIP. Specifically, our Central America regional programs support institutional strengthening to identify trafficking victims, provide appropriate assistance, and identify potential traffickers. USAID currently has C-TIP activities in Guatemala, Colombia, Peru, Honduras, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.
  • Middle East – There is a significant flow of South Asian, Southeast Asian, Sub-Saharan and North African men, women and children to the Middle East for sex and labor trafficking. USAID is addressing these challenges through prevention, protection, and prosecution programming. In Egypt, for example, USAID supports public awareness, vocational training, life skills, and victim protection.
Trafficking is widespread in the fishing industry, particularly in Southeast Asia.
Trafficking is widespread in the fishing industry, particularly in Southeast Asia. Often lured by unscrupulous recruiters promising lucrative jobs, workers are held captive on boats, where they are forced to work for little or no pay.

Resources and Training

USAID’s C-TIP Factsheet and Policy One Pager

USAID’s Counter-Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) Policy

C-TIP Field Guide


C-TIP Code of Conduct and Standard Operating Procedures: Contractor/Recipient Compliance

USAID One-pager on Integration of C-TIP in other sectors

USAID Global Labor program

State Department Trafficking in Persons Reports

Executive Order on Strengthening Protections Against TIP in Federal Contracts

U.S Government Entities Combating Human Trafficking Factsheet (J/TIP) (S.1 U.S. Government Entities Combating Human Trafficking) [pdf]

Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling factsheet [pdf 132,kb]

List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor (Department of Labor)

Last updated: January 19, 2022

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