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White House updates national strategy to root out human trafficking

White House updates national strategy to root out human trafficking
President Joe Biden speaks to reporters Thursday at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 3 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Friday unveiled an updated strategy to fight human trafficking in the United States, which places new emphasis on protecting underserved groups, such as LGBTQ and communities of color.

Officials said the National Security Council has been working for months on the update to the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.

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The new version gives particular focus to vulnerable workers and racial and gender groups. It also aims to end forced labor in the global supply chain, which has caused significant disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Human trafficking disproportionately impacts some of the most vulnerable and underserved members of our society," The White House said in a statement. "The updated [plan] responds to this predatory behavior by addressing the needs of underserved individuals, families and communities.

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"As such, it reflects the administration's commitments to gender and racial equity by taking action against the systemic injustices that communities experience."

The White House said the plan's central focus continues to be preventing abuse, protecting victims, prosecuting offenders and building partnerships to stop root causes of human trafficking.

"[We] will continue to partner with a growing cadre of interagency, civil society and international partners -- to include those who have experienced human trafficking -- to improve our collective efforts," the White House added.

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In making the announcement, officials noted a 2019 study that found roughly 72% of calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline concerned sex trafficking. About 11% were linked to labor trafficking and 4% to both.

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