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Introduction

Human Trafficking Task Force e-Guide

Developed in partnership by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), this Guide is a resource to support established task forces and provide guidance to agencies that are forming task forces. Its purpose is to assist in the development and day to day operations of an anti-human trafficking task force and to provide fundamental guidance for effective task force operations.


Resources: Report Human Trafficking
In case of an emergency, please call 911. 
Report suspected human trafficking activity to federal law enforcement at the numbers below or reach out to these agencies for assistance, resources, and technical assistance.
  • Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI): Submit an FBI Tip online or call your local FBI field office.
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI): Call 1-866-347-2423 (toll free) or report online.
  • Search the Matrix of OVC-funded service providers for victim referrals, or an OVC/BJA-funded Task Force in your area to work collaboratively on an investigation.
  • For additional referrals, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, a multilingual, toll-free, 24-hour anti-trafficking hotline at 888-373-7888.
  • Referrals can also be made to Polaris via text message to BeFree (233733).

First used in 1941, a "task force" is a temporary grouping under one leader for the purpose of accomplishing a definite objective. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has used this term to describe grant-funded multidisciplinary anti-trafficking teams since 2004 when BJA and OVC first funded local law enforcement agencies and local victim service providers (VSPs) to work collaboratively to combat human trafficking. Nationwide, human trafficking task forces are multidisciplinary teams established with the goal of providing the broadest range of services and resources for victims and the most diverse range of investigation and prosecution options in response to the perpetrators of this crime. Local law enforcement agencies and victim service providers are partnered with federal and state investigative, enforcement, and regulatory agencies and resources in pursuit of the most comprehensive response to the crime of human trafficking. This multidisciplinary task force response model (i.e., of agencies from various disciplines working together) is encouraged by the U.S. Department of Justice, and is considered worldwide as a “best practice” in the response to human trafficking.

This Guide refers to all multidisciplinary, collaborative, anti-human trafficking efforts as “task forces.” Multidisciplinary teams may also be referred to as coalitions or networks. For the purposes of this Guide, task forces are those which focus on identifying human trafficking, serving victims and investigating and building cases. These are the primary activities; however, others such as training, technical assistance and community awareness/education are viewed as activities that contribute to a task force's ability to perform the three core functions. The principles and advantages of the task force model apply to all multidisciplinary teams, regardless of funding sources or government affiliation.

The content has been carefully screened and evaluated by anti-human trafficking victim service providers, law enforcement officials and prosecutors. It is a living document; as new practices and resources that have proven helpful to these Task Forces become available, OVC’s Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC TTAC) will incorporate them to enhance the effectiveness of this Guide.

Please send recommendations regarding additional content to be considered for inclusion in updates of the Guide to humantrafficking@ovcttac.org.