To holistically combat the transnational human trafficking of migrants in the U.S., multiple foreign and domestic policy adjustments are needed. However, there are three essential first steps that the U.S. can take unilaterally to help mitigate the problem.

Key points:

  • While human smuggling and human trafficking are two distinct criminal activities, migrants are especially susceptible to becoming trafficking victims en route or once in the United States.
  • Conditions in Mexico and the Northern Triangle motivate their citizens to flee the region (making them vulnerable to traffickers) and allow trafficking networks and transnational criminal organizations to operate.
  • The United States should address structural weaknesses in its asylum system and secure the southern border, not outsource its humanitarian and immigration responsibilities.