Human trafficking is a stain on our society’s conscience and an affront to the ideals that form the basis of our national strength: liberty, justice, equality, and opportunity. This abhorrent crime targets the most vulnerable in society and exploits them and their labor—stealing away their God-given rights, freedom, and dignity. At the same time, it erodes the safety of our communities, the security of our borders, the strength of our economy, and the rule of law. And my Administration is committed to keeping the fight to end human trafficking at the forefront of our national security agenda.
Any form of trafficking in people—from forced labor to sex trafficking—must not be tolerated, in the United States or anywhere around the world. This has been a shared, bipartisan priority since the United States ratified the Palermo Protocol and enacted the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in 2000, which I proudly supported as U.S. Senator. And today, I am building on that bipartisan tradition by releasing my administration’s updated version of our National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.
Originally released in 2020, this document reflects extensive collaboration among federal antitrafficking experts from across the United States government, who have decades of experience on the front lines of our nation’s fight against human trafficking. It was also informed by the expertise of survivors, who generously contributed their insights and wisdom to strengthen the U.S. response to human trafficking. And its focus on the foundational pillars of the U.S. and global anti-trafficking efforts—prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnership—remains unchanged.
Throughout, however, we have been purposeful in integrating my Administration’s core commitment to gender and racial equity, workers’ rights, fair trade, and support for underserved communities across all aspects of the plan. Because we know that human trafficking disproportionately impacts racial and ethnic minorities, women and girls, LGBTQI individuals, vulnerable migrants, and others from historically marginalized and underserved communities, our mission to combat human trafficking cannot be cut off from our broader efforts to build equity for members of marginalized communities. They are inextricably linked.
This updated National Action Plan also reflects our priority effort to end human trafficking and forced labor in global supply chains. COVID-19 made clear the need to secure our supply chains and make them more transparent and accountable, so that we can ensure uninterrupted access to essential goods in times of crisis without fueling corruption, exploitation and forced labor.
I learned from my father that the cardinal sin was the abuse of power—and there is no more pernicious abuse of power than human trafficking. No human being should be preyed on for profit. And we must all work together to eradicate it. Individuals, businesses, faith-based communities, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, journalists, and law enforcement, all have a role to play. It also demands the close cooperation of a wide range of agencies across federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments. We can accomplish far more working in partnership than we could working alone. And my Administration will remain relentless in our efforts to protect the most vulnerable among us, bring perpetrators to justice, empower survivors, and address the systemic inequities that expose vulnerable individuals and marginalized communities to the threat of human trafficking. This plan is how we will do it— together.
Joseph R. Biden, Jr.