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Members

Members of any task force should possess the following characteristics:

Tools: Find Victim Service Providers and Coalitions Near You
Runaway & Homeless Youth Grantees (HHS)
ATIP Grantees (HHS)
Rescue and Restore Coalitions (HHS)

  • Visionary and practical skills: Have the capacity to plan for a goal and implement reasonable steps to achieve it.
  • Decisionmaking authority: Possess the authority of the agency or organization to make reasonable commitments.
  • Organizational development skills: Have the capacity to form a new collaboration that fosters nontraditional relationships, bring diverse perceptions of human trafficking, use a variety of skills, and draw on varying disciplines.
  • Resourcefulness: Tap into human and other valuable resources.
  • Commitment: The most important credential of members of the task force is a commitment to developing an effective community response to human trafficking. Many task forces are formed out of local or regional interest without external funding because the members believe in the necessity of a coordinated task force response.

A task force will benefit from including representatives from a variety of agencies and organizations to expand its capacity to provide services to victims and bring investigations to successful prosecution. This diversity in membership also can be beneficial in ensuring that the task force remains balanced in its efforts to combat all types of trafficking, without allowing local political or media pressures to skew the reality of human trafficking in all of its forms.

Wide membership also ensures that while some resources are devoted to case-specific needs, additional energy can go toward outreach to vulnerable populations, training for professionals on victim identification and appropriate service delivery, and effective public awareness campaigns, as described in Section 3.1 on Committees. The goals of the task force will be accomplished far more efficiently and effectively if all members understand their roles and share a common vision and mission regarding the work.

Looking for agencies or organizations that have experience working with the target victim populations can be a way to identify experts in the community who do not identify as such. For example, in prioritizing identification of labor trafficking victims and the subsequent victim assistance response needed, a community-based provider with strong ties to the local immigrant community may be an excellent member for victim services. A different agency might offer an expertise in working with runaway and homeless youth or juveniles involved in the juvenile justice system, contributing significant expertise when it comes to serving minor victims of trafficking.

Not all groups have the capacity or resources to dedicate full-time staff. When full-time staff are not available, assigning formal roles and responsibilities to members of the task force increases the likelihood of effective and consistent operations.

As awareness of the task force grows within the community, other individuals and organizations of varying capacity and knowledge will desire to join, or collaborate with, the task force. It is important that those performing a leadership role within the task force recognize and prepare for this and develop a plan to recognize these possible opportunities. Some of the organizations asking to be involved can be very helpful to growing and sustaining anti-trafficking efforts through fundraising activities, public awareness events, and working with local, state, and national political leaders.

Recruiting and Screening of Potential Task Force Members

Task Force Example: How One Task Force Recruits and Orients New Members

As the issue of human trafficking gained awareness within the community, one task force formed a subcommittee focused on membership. In addition to creating a screening tool for potential new members, the subcommittee hosted a New Member Orientation 1 hour before each task force meeting. Attendance at the orientation was mandatory for all new members.

This approach helped ensure that new attendees understood the mission, values, and structure of the task force, and it provided opportunities to address any basic questions that might otherwise have taken up the limited and valuable time dedicated to the general meeting.

Having an operational structure for membership and varying levels of participation can be effective for task force efforts. Some groups systematically screen members for participation, while others operate in a relatively open forum.

Some task forces limit their membership because not all organizations add significant value to the mission. Membership in these task forces is limited to those who will actively contribute to the mission and strategies, not just those who attend meetings. Such conditions serve to enhance the focus of the group, develop and build on key working relationships, and enhance trust and confidence among essential responder agencies and organizations.

Others choose to have wide membership; they may open the entire task force to all interested parties, or create a public awareness or other committee that is open to all interested community groups. This allows all interested parties to learn about trafficking, spread awareness, and contribute to the task force, while the direct service providers, law enforcement, and prosecutors remain focused on identified victims.

The appropriate size of a task force depends on the group’s ability to work together efficiently and accomplish established goals. Expanding the group should be a deliberate move to strengthen the task force. Every participant should be expected to contribute actively to meet the goals of the group.

Potential Task Force Partners

Task forces should consider including representatives from regulatory agencies, social service agencies, victim service providers, community-based organizations, and criminal justice system-based victim assistance components.

Potential Task Force Partners

Law Enforcement

Criminal

  • Local and state law enforcement agencies
  • Local and state prosecutors
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office
  • Department of State, Diplomatic Security Section

Civil

  • U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
  • National Labor RElations Board
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • State labor agencies

Victim Service Providers

  • Anti-human trafficking organizations
  • Domestic violence, sexual assault, and teen dating violence shelters and programs
  • Homeless shelters and programs
  • Youth-focused shelters and programs
  • Local homeless, anti-violence, and youth-based coalitions
  • Legal service providers (civil, immigration, and criminal defense)
  • Immigrant community programs and service providers
  • Workers’ rights programs and services

Other Law Enforcement

  • U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) (required for OVC /BJA-funded task forces)
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office Law Enforcement Coordinating Committees (cooperation and coordination among federal, state, and local law enforcement offices)
  • National Network of Fusion Centers
  • Law enforcement associations (e.g., state associations, International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Sheriffs’ Association)
  • Security team and/or management from local shopping areas and malls

Criminal Justice System-Based Victim Assistance

  • State and local law enforcement and/or prosecutor victim advocates
  • Federal victim witness coordinators/victim assistance Specialists (HSI, FBI, USAO)
  • Juvenile justice representatives (judges, detention facility managers)
  • Probation or juvenile diversion programs

Social Service Agencies

  • Adult Protective Services
  • Child Protective Services or Department of Child and Family Services
  • Child Advocacy Centers
  • Child welfare system
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Social Security Administration
  • State welfare agencies

Allied Professionals

  • Medical professionals including doctors, nurses, and dentists, particularly those working in clinics or emergency rooms
  • Law firms
  • Victim impact/survivor consultants
  • Professors, academics, or researchers with specialized knowledge of human trafficking
  • After-school programs, local school principals, guidance counselors, school board members

Community Based Organizations

  • Low-wage workers’ rights and sex-workers’ rights groups
  • Immigrant advocacy groups and immigration legal service providers
  • Faith communities

Regulatory Agencies

  • Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
  • Alcohol and Beverage Control
  • Department of Public Safety
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Local government licensing departments, regulating bodies (for massage parlors, nail salons, etc.) and code inspectors

 

While reviewing allied professionals listed in the chart above, consider creating a survivor board in your task force. Experienced victim impact/survivor consultants can support key task force functions, particularly in getting feedback on activities at a local level.


For additional information and tools, visit the Resource page for Section 3.1 Task Force Membership & Management.