DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking

The mission of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Center for Countering Human Trafficking (CCHT) is to advance counter human trafficking law enforcement operations, protect victims, and enhance prevention efforts by aligning DHS’ capabilities and expertise. The CCHT is a DHS-wide effort comprised of 16 supporting offices and components and is led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The CCHT is the first unified, inter-component coordination center for countering human trafficking and the importation of goods produced with forced labor.

Guided by the DHS Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, the Importation of Goods Produced with Forced Labor, and Child Sexual Exploitation, CCHT integrates the efforts of every component within DHS involved in combating human trafficking. DHS efforts range across criminal investigations, victim assistance, identifying and reporting human trafficking, external outreach, intelligence, and training. The CCHT better equips and positions DHS to accomplish and improve every aspect of its counter human trafficking efforts.

Victim-Centered Approach

The victim-centered approach seeks to minimize additional trauma, mitigate undue penalization, and stabilize and support victims. In doing so, it encourages survivors to participate actively in investigations, enabling law enforcement to better detect, investigate, and prosecute perpetrators.  Additionally, DHS Secretary Mayorkas has directed DHS components to incorporate a victim-centered approach into all policies, programs, and activities governing DHS interactions with victims of crime.

Continued Presence

Continued Presence is a temporary immigration designation provided to individuals identified by law enforcement as trafficking victims who may be potential witnesses. CP allows trafficking victims to lawfully remain in the U.S. temporarily and work during the investigation into the human trafficking-related crimes committed against them and during any civil action under 18 U.S.C. § 1595 filed by the victims against their traffickers. CP not only authorizes the victim to remain in the United States for two years and is renewable but also provides a free work permit and eligibility for other federal benefits and services.

In the earliest stages of an investigation, Continued Presence is the best vehicle for federal, state and local law enforcement to obtain temporary and quick legal immigration protection for trafficking victims. This combination of protections stabilizes victims, restores self-sufficiency and improves their ability to assist law enforcement.

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