Around the world, traffickers hold tens of millions of men, women, and children in forced labor, involuntary servitude, forced prostitution, and child commercial sexual exploitation. Traffickers prey on citizens and immigrants alike, enjoying almost complete impunity across the globe. The 2017 U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report stated that there were only 14,897 trafficking prosecutions worldwide in 2016.
We strive for accountability through three core objectives:
1. Hold the U.S. government accountable
The U.S. federal government prosecutes very few criminal human trafficking cases—particularly for forced labor. In 2016, the federal authorities prosecuted just 241 cases. Of those, just 13 cases were for forced labor. And even though federal law mandates that trafficking victims receive financial compensation in the form of criminal restitution, restitution is rarely ordered.
This means that women, men, and children who have suffered egregious abuse are routinely left empty-handed, deprived of the compensation they deserve. Meanwhile, dangerous traffickers continue to thrive on a high-reward, low-risk model, protected by government inaction.
The Human Trafficking Legal Center conducts cutting-edge research to expose system failures. With this data, we conduct outreach to federal prosecutors and drive structural reform.