CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The U.S. Attorney’s Office, law enforcement agencies and community organizations gathered today in recognition of “National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month,” announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
During an early morning press conference, U.S. Attorney Rose emphasized the importance of raising awareness and educating the public about human trafficking and highlighted the continued efforts of law enforcement and the Charlotte Metropolitan Human Trafficking Task Force against one of the most grievous crimes impacting our communities today.
“Over the past five years, our response to the scourge of human trafficking has been persistent and aggressive. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has worked hand-in-hand with our law enforcement partners, community organizations and victims’ services groups to forge a strong coalition against human trafficking and to put end in the sex trafficking of children. While we’ve succeeded in raising public awareness, bringing perpetrators to justice and assisting victims rescued from a cycle of abuse and exploitation, our work is far from over. As we move forward, we will continue our record of success and draw upon our collective resources to identify and assist trafficking victims and put behind bars those who seek to profit from the exploitation of other human beings,” said U.S. Attorney Rose.
“Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. Homeland Security Investigations continues to pursue the perpetrators of this heinous crime as one of its highest priorities, via a coordinated global effort with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners,” said Special Agent in Charge of HSI Atlanta Nick Annan. “Over the past two years HSI has doubled its number of human trafficking arrest and we will continue our relentless pursuit to investigate and seek prosecution of these criminals while also ensuring the victims of this terrible crime are rescued and get the care they need.”
“Human trafficking victims are trapped in lives of misery, often beaten, starved, and forced to work as prostitutes or to take grueling jobs with little or no pay. The FBI devotes a significant amount of resources to hold those accountable who sacrifice another person’s civil rights and freedom for their own profit,” said John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina.
The Charlotte Metropolitan Human Trafficking Task Force comprises law enforcement agencies – including ICE-Homeland Security Investigations, the FBI, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department – federal and state prosecutors and community organizations. During today’s press conference, U.S. Attorney Rose praised the work of the task force for their ongoing collaboration and thanked its community partners for their unwavering commitment and critical assistance to rescued victims.
“Our community organizations have stepped up to the plate and have been incredible allies in our fight against human trafficking, by providing much-needed short and long-term assistance to those rescued from the hands of sex traffickers. As the victims slowly begin to rebuild their lives, access to resources, including food, shelter, medical and mental health services and legal assistance, is critical. Time and again, we have relied on our community groups to provide rescued victims with the recovery support they need, and their commitment and willingness to help has been nothing short of extraordinary,” said U.S. Attorney Rose.
This morning’s press conference was followed by a half-day training workshop organized by the task force. The workshop was open to the public with a special emphasis on members of the hospitality industry. The goal of the training was to enhance participants’ understanding of human trafficking and highlight best practices for supporting law enforcement in combating sex trafficking.
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If you believe you are the victim of a trafficking situation or may have information about a potential trafficking situation, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888. NHTRC is a national, toll-free hotline, with specialists available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year related to potential trafficking victims, suspicious behaviors, and/or locations where trafficking is suspected to occur. You can also submit a tip to the NHTRC online[external link].
You can also contact ICE-Homeland Security Investigations at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (1-866-347-2423) or the Charlotte Office of the FBI at 704-672-6100.
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