Feature   Reform

DOD Marks 20th Anniversary of Trafficking Victims Protection Act

Jan. 8, 2020

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, the first comprehensive law in the U.S. to address the transnational crime of human trafficking.

DOD's Combating the Trafficking of Persons office — along with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency — is scheduled to hold a National Human Trafficking Awareness event on Jan. 9 at 2 p.m in the Pentagon auditorium. Featured speakers will include two survivors of labor trafficking. For more information about this event, email dodctip@mail.mil.

The law created the ''3P'' framework: preventing trafficking; prosecute traffickers; and protecting and assisting trafficking victims. Congress reauthorized the law in 2003, 2005, 2008, 2013, 2017 and 2018.

Infographic titled “The Age of Modern Slavery” describes the types of exploitation and what people should do if they become aware of human trafficking.
Modern Slavery Infographic
About 25 million people around the world are victims of labor or sexual exploitation.
Photo By: Infographic by Chra Darwesh, DOD
VIRIN: 191120-D-EO895-1001

In 2002, National Security Presidential Directive 22 directed U.S. government agencies to create a strategic plan to implement the trafficking law. 

In observing the anniversary, DOD is highlighting the following milestones:

  • In 2003, DOD was the first federal agency to have its inspector general assess its efforts in combating the trafficking of persons;
  • DOD was the first federal agency to require its personnel to take training in combating the trafficking of persons. The effort started with military personnel in 2005 and expanded to civilians in 2010;
  • In 2005, DOD added a statute to the Uniform Code of Military Justice prohibiting patronizing a prostitute, building on the approach to trafficking and related activities laid out for federal agencies by the presidential directive; and
  • In 2006, DOD was the first federal agency to add a trafficking-in-persons clause to all of its contracts, as required by the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement. 

Also in 2006, DOD took action after a Multinational Force Iraq inspection found indications of labor trafficking, including widespread deceptive hiring practices and excessive recruitment fees, substandard worker living conditions at some sites, and widespread confiscation of passports of third-country workers in Iraq.

In response, DOD ordered military contractors and subcontractors to return the passports of all workers in Iraq. The department also set standards for housing and living space for the thousands of civilian workers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That same year, the Combating the Trafficking of Persons program manager office was established.

In 2012, DOD became the first U.S. government agency to form a task force and draft a strategic plan on combating the trafficking of persons. 

DOD created specialized training tailored for leaders, investigative professionals, acquisition professionals and education professionals. ''General awareness'' training teaches DOD personnel that child soldiers are trafficking victims.