Anti-Human Trafficking Policy Effectiveness

Approximately 25600 instances of human trafficking have been documented between 2007 and 2016

There were 1600 trafficking survivors recorded in 2015, a 24% rise over 2014. The number of cases of human trafficking in the United States and other countries across the world has decreased because to the anti-human trafficking strategy. The goal of the strategy is to completely eradicate modern slavery through partnerships with other governments, businesses, and non-governmental organizations. Additionally, the renewed emphasis on victims of trafficking and the adoption of legislation requiring victim-centered strategies in the fight against the vice will contribute to better policy results and effects in the future. Thus collaborations, public awareness, research and data collection, and coordination are the only ways through which anti-human trafficking policy will eliminate the social problem.


Since the early 1990s, different policies were formulated with aims of bringing immigration reforms both at state, federal, and global level. Some of the landmarks to this journey were the "United Nations Protocol against Trafficking of 2000", "the European Convention on Action Against Trafficking of Human Beings of 2005" among many other actions. Although a lot of policy reforms have been put in place to combat the issue, a lot of concerns have been on their effectiveness in eradicating human trafficking, forced labor, and sexual exploitation among other associated evils. This paper focuses on the effectiveness of anti-human trafficking policy in eliminating human trafficking and other associated social problems both at federal and global level. Moreover, it recommends the possible improvements necessary for the policy to be effective in solving the social problem.

Policy Implementation Level

The policy was implemented both at federal and international/global level. Through the Department of Homeland Security, the immigration laws were enacted to control the illegal entry and exit of both citizens and immigrants into and out of the country. Various interdepartmental collaborations with department such as collaborations between Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice acted as a strong pillar both at policy formulation and implementation stage. Moreover, partnerships with international organizations and partner countries also contributed to the achievements realized so far both at country and global level.

Target Population

The first policies to be formulated on human trafficking did not focus on the key population but rather sorted for ways to tighten immigration laws. Although this remained a challenge for several years, policymakers realized the need to develop policies that can address human trafficking and modern-day slavery by focusing on the victims of trafficking (Konrad, Trapp, Palmbach & Blom, 2017). Therefore, the policy reforms identified potential victims and survivors of human trafficking as the key target population for the policy. For instance, the Federal Government have been recognizing and engaging the survivors of human trafficking in leadership and decision-making process as far as anti-trafficking policy ratification, and implementation are concerned. Currently, Blue Campaign and Victim Assistance Programs are targeting the potential victims and survivors to improve the policy effectiveness in achieving the desired outcomes.

Brief History of Anti-Human Trafficking Policy

The journey towards slavery-free society began in the early 1800s, however, the formulation and implementation of policies intended to eliminate the modern slavery began in 1990s. In 2000, the Trafficking Victim Protection Act was passed to help in striking collaborations between U.S.A and other nations in protecting victims of trafficking (Konrad, Trapp, Palmbach & Blom, 2017). The international movements used the 3P (protection, prevention, and prosecution) paradigm to strengthen the fight against trafficking. Other important steps in the formulation of the policy at regional and global level include UN Protocol of 2000, ECOWAS Agreement 2001, Anti-Child Labor Initiative 2002, Transparency in Supply Chain Act 2011, and Modern Slavery Act 2015. All these acts were ratified to make the issue be a global agenda. Today, the policy is implemented in all countries of the world.

Policy Alternatives

At the initial stages, policy focused on immigration laws and ensured that the necessary immigration procedures are adhered to. Critical documents like Continued Presence, T visas, and U visas were used to detect cases of human trafficking (Bang, 2016). Later on, a victim-centered approach was adopted to ensure that the nature of human trafficking is properly addressed in the anti-trafficking policy. Public awareness on the issues relating to reporting human trafficking.

At the international level, the Department of Homeland Security collaborated foreign governments, private sector agencies, and non-governmental organizations. The collaborative approach was very effective in eradicating the vice. Also, other acts like "Trafficking Victim Protection Act of 2000" allowed other nations to be involved putting up restrictive measures for protecting victims of trafficking in various parts of the world.

As a policy alternative, the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security formulated early detection plan to rescue potential victims. Moreover, they formulated the proactive response plan to rescue the survivors of human trafficking (Stolz, 2015). The two plans intended to improve on the national, regional, and global coordination between the collaborating partners. Moreover, the need to provide crucial services to potential victims and create awareness among the target population led to the formulation of an effective response plan.

Creation of Public Awareness- The Federal Government carried out campaigns like the Blue Campaign to ensure the public get truthful information about the vice (Cho, Dreher & Neumayer, 2014). Moreover, it helped the public in identifying the indicators of trafficking.

Intensive Data Collection and Research- The Federal Government established a functional criminal justice system through sound data collection and research. Through reliable data, victims of trafficking can get essential services delivered to them.

Cross-Border Coordination- The Department of Homeland Security collaborated with other international agencies to ensure cases of overlapping authorities and application of common practices are eliminated during policy implementation. Moreover, victims were able to access the various services they require during the recovery stage.

Political Constraints

Although the Federal government has tried to strike regional and global collaborations to ensure a positive global impact of the policy, the political differences at regional and international level have been the major challenge to the policy implementation (Bang, 2016). However, at the country level, the United States has benefited from its political and legal environment in the formulation, ratification, and implementation of the various policies and acts that intend to combat human trafficking. The hidden socio-political agendas and the influence of religion have also been regarded as some of the major challenges affecting implementation the policy as part of the global agenda.

Unintended consequences

The anti-trafficking policy objectives were to ensure victims of trafficking are responded in good time. Moreover, the policy intended to create awareness to the public to help rescue the potential victims. So far, the policy has not realized any unintended consequences to the public. However, it has led hindered free movement of people through strict immigration laws.

Results of the Policy on the Target Population

The policy was effective in arresting and prosecuting traffickers both at national and international level. Moreover, the number of survivors significantly increased over the years. For instance, about 1600 survivors of trafficking were reported in 2015 which was a 24% increase from the 2014 report. However, the number of survivors were much low compared to the 5900 reported cases of human trafficking. Since 2007, about 25600 cases of human trafficking have been reported. The number of cases indicates the effectiveness of the policy in ensuring the public understand trafficking indicators for early detection and improve on reporting of the cases.


Over the past decades, human trafficking has attracted the attention of the United States, International Organizations, and many other countries across the globe. The issue of human trafficking and other forms of exploitation led to the formulation of anti-trafficking policies by the United States and other international organizations to ensure the vice is combated. Through the integration of the alternative approaches to public awareness, data collection & research, and collaborations, the policy has been effective in reducing the cases of human trafficking while increasing the number of survivors.


Bang, N. J. (2016). Prosecuting Human Traffickers by Mobilizing Human Rights Defenders as Victims’ Advocates. Wash. U. Global Stud. L. Rev., 15, 1

Cho, S. Y., Dreher, A., & Neumayer, E. (2014). Determinants of Anti‐Trafficking Policies: Evidence from a New Index. The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 116(2), 429-454.

Konrad, R. A., Trapp, A. C., Palmbach, T. M., & Blom, J. S. (2017). Overcoming human trafficking via operations research and analytics: Opportunities for methods, models, and applications. European Journal of Operational Research, 259(2), 733-745.

Stolz, B. A. (2015). Criminal Justice Policy and Transnational Crime: The Case of Anti–human Trafficking Policy. US Criminal Justice Policy, 337.

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