WASHINGTON – Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Wan J. Kim, announced today the creation of the Human Trafficking Prosecution (HTP) Unit within the Criminal Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The Unit is designed to develop new strategies to combat modern-day slavery by focusing the Division’s human trafficking expertise and expanding its anti-trafficking enforcement program to further increase human trafficking investigations and prosecutions throughout the nation. “The Justice Department is proud to be at the forefront of the Administration’s efforts to combat the heinous crime of human trafficking,” said Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. “With the creation of the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, we will expand and enhance our ability to fight this crime by working together with federal, state and local investigators, and NGOs, to tackle the enormous challenges posed by this evil. We will continue to develop new ways to help victims and to bring their captors to justice.”
The HTP Unit will work to enhance the Department’s investigation and prosecution of significant human trafficking and slavery cases, such as multi-jurisdictional cases and those involving financial crimes. The Unit will also engage in training, technical assistance and outreach initiatives to federal, state and local law enforcement and NGOs.
The HTP Unit will be headed by noted anti-trafficking prosecutors who have prosecuted traffickers and freed hundreds of foreign and domestic victims from sex trafficking in brothels and forced labor in fields, homes and factories. Robert Moossy will head up the Unit, and is joined by Chief Counsel Lou de Baca and Special Litigation Counsels Hilary Axam and Andrew Kline, who bring significant anti-slavery experience to this effort and have been leaders in developing the modern victim-centered approach to human trafficking investigations and prosecutions. They will be joined in the coming months by additional federal prosecutors, a victim/witness specialist, and support staff. Attorney General Gonzales has made combating human trafficking a top priority of the Justice Department. In the last six fiscal years, the Civil Rights Division, in conjunction with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, has increased by six-fold the number of human trafficking cases filed, quadrupled the number of defendants charged, and tripled the number of defendants convicted. In FY 2006, the Department initiated 168 investigations, charged 111 defendants in 32 cases, and obtained a record number of convictions totaling 98.