Pillar V: Secure the Border, End Human Trafficking, and Defeat the Drug Cartels

Stop Human Trafficking by Instituting Effective Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Policies

Human trafficking is extremely lucrative to those who seek to gain from enslaving others. It accounts for an estimated $150 billion in annual global profits and is far more prevalent than many realize. The forms of exploitation, sex trafficking, forced labor, and domestic servitude that constitute human trafficking are completely antithetical to the principles of human dignity that Americans hold dear.

People become victims of human trafficking in several different ways. But no matter the method, origin, or type of exploitation endured, we must stop this evil practice in its tracks through effective policies. The previous administration made the fight against modern slavery one of its signature issues. In a relatively short amount of time, it issued two executive orders targeting human trafficking in the administration’s first 100 days, signed a record-breaking nine pieces of bipartisan legislation into law, and created the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (PITF)—a Cabinet-level entity consisting of 15 departments and agencies that worked to prosecute traffickers and protect survivors. These actions should have served as a foundation for action going forward.

Unfortunately, the federal government has not maintained this sense of urgency or forward progress. None of the current administration’s unprecedented number of executive orders in its first 100 days addressed the scourge of human trafficking. And the current administration has done almost nothing of substance to combat this heinous crime. Inexplicably, it eliminated the Victims of Immigration Crime Enforcement (VOICE) office within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that provided support to the victims of crimes committed by removable aliens.

In the wake of this neglect, the southern border has essentially become a feeding zone for traffickers, a tragic effect of the current administration’s open borders immigration policies. It has never been easier for traffickers to gain access to children, endangering our most vulnerable citizens.


  • Cartels engaged in human trafficking and/or smuggling earn as much as $14 million per day by taking advantage of the porous southern border.
  • Nearly 500,000 victims of human trafficking are located in the U.S.
  • Nearly 71% of all reported incidents of human trafficking were related to sex trafficking.
  • An unprecedented two million illegal apprehensions were made along the southern border in 2021.
  • More than 150,000 unaccompanied alien children (UACs) entered the U.S. in 2021, an increase of 339% from 2020 figures.
  • 140,000 UACs have already been apprehended at the border this fiscal year through August.


At the federal level, support policies that:

  • Launch new awareness campaigns or expand upon existing ones that combat human trafficking.
  • Reconstitute the Victims of Immigration Crime Enforcement (VOICE) office within DHS.
  • Increase the outreach efforts by DHS, DOJ, and other government agencies engaged in the anti-human trafficking to their industry partners.
    • By doing so, these agencies can provide education on identifying individuals potentially entrapped by human trafficking or goods produced through forced labor practices.

At the state level, support policies that:

  • Impose a fee on outgoing wire transfers to disrupt the ability of trafficking and smuggling networks to send money for illicit activities. This additional revenue could better fund law enforcement efforts to combat the cartels and recover the costs of illegal immigration imposed on state taxpayers.
  • Enhance scrutiny of and requirements for state-licensed facilities to house UACs.


Center for Homeland Security and Immigration Overview by Chad Wolf and John Zadrozny, America First Policy Institute (May 2021).

Department Of Homeland Security Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, the Importation of Goods Produced With Forced Labor, and Child Sexual Exploitation, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Jan. 2020).

Using Executive Action to Secure the Border by Chad Wolf, America First Policy Institute (Nov. 2021).

Where is President Biden on Human Trafficking? by Chad Wolf and Bill Woolf, America First Policy Institute (Jan. 2022).

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