PHOENIX – LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – A task force of federal and local agencies that have combined forces to fight human trafficking urged participants of an all-day training event at Glendale Community College to “look beneath the surface” when it comes to identifying victims and perpetrators of human trafficking, a modern-day manifestation of the slave-trade.
Today in Glendale, over 250 law enforcement officers, community and victim advocates, health care providers, business and education leaders, among others, attended “Look Beneath the Surface,” a free all-day training seminar by the Greater Phoenix Area Human Trafficking Task Force. The Task Force is comprised of representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Labor, Phoenix Police Department and a coalition of community and business leaders known as ALERT.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting those who benefit from the forced labor of others, especially children, “ said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Harwood in opening the conference. “We assembled the Greater Phoenix Task Force to increase collaboration among local, state, and federal agencies, and NGOs to better assist victims and to work together to fight this terrible crime.”
Human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world after drug-trafficking. It is a global problem that is also prevalent in the United States. Victims of human trafficking are often forced to work in prostitution or the sex entertainment industry. Human trafficking also occurs in the form of labor exploitation, with some victims forced to work in restaurants, sweatshops, agriculture, or domestic servitude.
“Look Beneath the Surface” had several audiences and objectives: to inform law enforcement, business, and community leaders on how to identify and report potential victims of trafficking; to demonstrate how federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies work together to investigate and prosecute human trafficking and help victims seek compensation for their exploited labor. The training also covered how agencies work with non-governmental organizations to provide services, counseling and shelter to victims of trafficking. This training was designed for business leaders, community leaders, volunteers, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, victim advocates, health care providers, social workers, the legal community, and others involved in efforts to prevent, identify, and combat human trafficking.
Human Trafficking is NOT alien smuggling. Human trafficking involves forced labor, forced sexual services, and/or indentured servitude. To report potential victims of human trafficking or to seek assistance if you are a victim, please call 1-888-60-ALERT, a hotline to coordinate an appropriate response from law enforcement and human services.
Press Release: 2007-224(Human Trafficking)