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Friday, January 15th, 2021

GAO assesses State, Labor Departments efforts to prevent human trafficking

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has determined the Department of State, the Department of Labor, and the U.S. Agency for International Development have taken steps to strengthen global anti-trafficking projects.

The GAO indicated while the entities acknowledged challenges that made it difficult to evaluate 182 international anti-trafficking projects designed to prevent trafficking, prosecute perpetrators and protect survivors – the GAO noted improved awareness and collaboration contributing to project success.

The agencies used midterm evaluations to make course corrections to improve project performance, the GAO cited in its evaluation.

The GAO assessment stems from human trafficking not only being a multi-billion dollar industry but also a global dilemma. In addition to harming its victims, it imposes social and public health costs and undermines government authority.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 includes a provision for GAO to report on programs conducted by specific agencies, including the Departments of State and Labor and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The GAO noted its scope of work regarding the assessment included reviewing agency policies, data, awards, and other documents; conducting a literature search; and reviewing eight final evaluations and six midterm evaluations of anti-trafficking projects funded by
the Departments of State and Labor and the U.S. Agency for International Development that were active at any point from fiscal years 2016 through 2018.

The GAO also conducted fieldwork in the Philippines, which was selected to observe all three agencies’ anti-trafficking projects. Agency officials and implementing partners were also interviewed.