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Human Trafficking Awareness Day:   JFW Comments

February 20, 2014

[Thank you, Gov Hickenlooper] I would like to thank the organizers of today’s events, including event Chair Tamra Farah, and the many representatives of law enforcement who are here today and committed to fighting human trafficking, ranging from Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, to key federal law enforcement officials, elected officials and  and members of victim communities.

Human trafficking is a crime that hides in plain sight, all around us.  Women, children and men from the United States and around the world, are kidnapped, coerced or tricked into working in conditions that are little different than slavery or indentured servitude.   They are forced to work in the sex industry, but also in other jobs where they are forced to pay their captors much of their earnings – construction, or other jobs where they are left with barely enough to eat. 

Due to the hard work of community groups and law enforcement, this terrible, insidious crime is being fought and victims rescued every day. 

Just last week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, working with Homeland Security and the State Department, obtained a stiff sentence in federal court against one trafficker – Kizzy Kalu.  With false promises of university teaching jobs, Kalu enticed hundreds of foreign nurses to come to Colorado.  Once they arrived here, however, they found the promised jobs did not exist.   Instead, Kalu forced them to find and work at menial jobs and pay him tens of thousands of dollars -- or face deportation on his accusation. 

I am proud to say that the hard work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement – and the bravery of the nurses who testified -- resulted last week in Kalu receiving a nearly 13 year federal prison sentence.

But victories like this are just one step.   Today in Colorado, thousands of women, children and men remain the victims of human trafficking, forced labor and sexual exploitation.   We in federal law enforcement pledge our continued determined efforts to rescue them and prosecute their tormentors.

Thank you very much.

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