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Trump to create White House czar to fight, prosecute human traffickers

Trump to create White House czar to fight, prosecute human traffickers
President Trump signs an executive order to create the office of a human trafficking czar after delivering remarks during the White House Summit on Human Trafficking: The 20th Anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 in the East Room of the the White House on Tuesday. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 31 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump announced an executive order Friday to create the office of a human trafficking czar, expanding the White House's domestic policy office to focus on ending what the administration has called "modern day slavery."

The White House told reporters the post will work exclusively on the president's efforts to fight and prosecute human traffickers.

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Joe Grogan, head of the Domestic Police Council, said Trump would sign the order at a two-hour summit Friday celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Some anti-trafficking advocates are expected to boycott the event over Trump's immigration policies -- particularly those which involve Latin and Muslim refugees. Trump is expected to sign the order at the event.

Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Attorney General William Barr and White House adviser Ivanka Trump attended the summit.

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"We have a broad group of people who will be in attendance," Grogan said. "The president has been focused on this since he came into office. I would note that Ivanka Trump has been a true leader on this and a great partner to work on these issues.

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"Having someone established here in the White House who can coordinate all these activities is going to really give us a leg up in combating human trafficking."

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which took effect in 2000 and was reauthorized in 2013, focuses on protecting, preventing and prosecuting those in sex and labor trafficking.

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Under Trump's order, the State Department will create a website where law enforcement officials, victims and advocates can find information about government-wide, anti-trafficking efforts. Other federal departments will introduce legislative and executive actions to help authorities find child sex abuse content online.

A senior White House official told reporters it will be a central government website, a "one-stop shop" for trafficking resources, public outreach and training.

The White House officials did not identify any potential candidates.

Advocacy groups that include Freedom Network USA, the United States' largest anti-trafficking coalition, said earlier they'd planned to boycott Friday's summit -- accusing the Trump administration of endangering victims.

"We have such a chasm between rhetoric and reality," said Human Trafficking Legal Center founder Martina Vandenberg. "This administration is undermining protections carefully built for trafficking victims over two decades."

Critics say migrant victims also face deportation under the new order, due to the increased visa scrutiny.

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