Fighting Human Trafficking
Trafficking in persons is a form of modern-day slavery for many, including refugees. It is the illegal trade in human beings through force, fraud, coercion, or violence for purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labor, and other slavery-like practices.
Anywhere from 700,000 to 4 million persons worldwide are trafficked across or within national borders every year. Virtually every country is affected by trafficking, whether capitalized by traffickers as a source, transit or destination location. Generating roughly $7 billion to $10 billion annually, human trafficking is the fastest growing global criminal industry, with high profits, low risks, minimal capital investment, and a "commodity" that can be used over and over again.
Women, men, and children fall prey to trafficking worldwide. Viewed as valuable commodities in the sex trade or labor industry, vulnerable individuals are targeted by traffickers poised to exploit their desperation, misfortune, and ignorance. They may be lured by false promises of employment opportunities and a better life, abducted, or sold outright by families who themselves are in need of money or hope to provide a better life for their children.
Potential victims are at even greater risk when they originate from countries experiencing political and economic instability, internal displacement, militarism, civil unrest, internal armed conflict, and natural disasters. Generally, ethnic minorities or lower class groups are more vulnerable to trafficking. Certain social and cultural practices further render women and children in particular susceptible to trafficking.
International Rescue Committee Anti-Trafficking Action Coalition (ATAC)
Established in 2003, the Anti-Trafficking Action Coalition (ATAC) aims to build a strong infrastructure to support the IRC network of 22 resettlement offices in providing comprehensive and specialized services to certified victims of trafficking across the United States. ATAC has instituted a technical assistance and training base with a three-fold purpose: to standardize the delivery of quality services, institutionalize expertise on trafficking, and establish best practices to assist trafficking victims.
In addition to institutional capacity building, ATAC strives to strengthen the capacity of concerned entities to more effectively recognize, protect, and assist victims of trafficking. ATAC carries out targeted community outreach and broad public education at the local, regional, and national levels in order to raise public awareness of trafficking. Outreach and education strategies are designed to deliver critical, accurate, and balanced information on trafficking to social and legal service providers, community-based organizations, law enforcement agencies, government agencies, health care practitioners, advocacy organizations, faith-based groups, and the larger community to promote the identification and protection of trafficking victims.
ATAC will also advance action-oriented research and policy initiatives to increase the knowledge base on trafficking and propose solutions to enhance anti-trafficking activities. The wisdom of experiences in related areas and beyond our national borders, as well as the growing expertise within the United States, is vital to build on, integrate, and develop effective strategies to combat trafficking. ATAC aims to implement systematic data collection and analyses, synthesize information from a broad range of perspectives, and generate knowledge that is meaningful to decision makers.
At the core of ATAC's work is the protection and advancement of trafficked persons' human rights. ATAC supports the inclusion and participation of trafficked persons in formulating anti-trafficking strategies and designing programs. ATAC will take steps to protect individuals from further harm and exploitation, promote respect for their rights, and restore their dignity. To address the multiple aspects of trafficking, ATAC has developed a comprehensive, integrated framework for research, service provision, community outreach, and public education to ensure the safety, protection, and well-being of trafficked individuals.