Resolution on Eliminating Human Trafficking

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WHEREAS, the International Labour Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking worldwide, with hundreds of thousands of those victims living in the U.S.; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. State Department estimates that up to 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year, of which 80 percent are female and half are children; and

WHEREAS, victims of human trafficking live in fear and are often kept isolated, making them unaware of their rights, powerless to access services, and afraid to ask for help from local law enforcement; and

WHEREAS, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitutional officially abolished and continues to prohibit slavery in the U.S.; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in 2000—which has become the cornerstone of Federal human trafficking legislation—establishing severe penalties to those who engage in the trafficking of persons; and

WHEREAS, all States, U.S. Territories and the District of Columbia have passed anti-trafficking laws with the understanding that they have an important and essential role in eliminating human trafficking within America’s borders; and

WHEREAS, 37 states passed new laws in 2014 to strengthen already existing laws to fight human trafficking; and

WHEREAS, combating human trafficking requires a collaborative, comprehensive approach across all levels of government; and 

WHEREAS, States welcome increased coordination with their federal counterparts—at the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of State—to combat human trafficking.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Council of State Governments will work with States and with their federal counterparts—at the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of State—to combat human trafficking; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, copies of this resolution shall be transmitted to the president, all members of Congress, and the CSG staff directed to advocate for policies that reflect these principles.

Adopted December 13, 2015 by The Council of State Governments’ Executive Committee.