The White House will host a summit on human trafficking at the end of January marking 20 years since Congress made it a federal crime, amid an uptick in reported cases in recent years.
Ivanka Trump, a senior White House adviser, told McClatchy on Tuesday that her father, President Donald Trump, would attend the summit along with Attorney General Bill Barr, members of Congress, and state and local leaders.
“Twenty years ago, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act was signed into law,” she said. “To honor this milestone as we continue our robust efforts to combat human trafficking at home and abroad, the White House will host a summit to discuss the impact of this landmark legislation and to identify new solutions to end the scourge of modern slavery.”
Ivanka Trump has advocated for legislation targeting the illicit trade throughout her father’s time in office, and plans to discuss future efforts during a visit to Atlanta, Ga., on Tuesday, while touring two facilities that help survivors of trafficking.
In 2018, she led successful talks with lawmakers to pass twin bills cracking down on online sex trafficking, which became law, and has worked on other legislation intended to provide additional resources to law enforcement and strengthen the federal government’s ability to combat the crime.
Federal prosecutions of trafficking cases have decreased since the Obama administration. While cases reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline increased in 2018 by 25% from the prior year, administration officials see that as a positive development because more people are willing to report cases — rather than an actual increase in trafficking.
Last fall, the Trump administration postponed a $13.5 million federal grant for emergency and short-term housing for victims of sex and labor trafficking. A White House official pointed out that the grant was simply moved from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to the Justice Department, and has been available since December.
The White House said that combating human trafficking is a top priority for the president. The summit will take place on the last day of January, which Trump has proclaimed as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
Updated with additional information on the National Human Trafficking Hotline.