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JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AWARDS FLORIDA AND HAWAII LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICES FOR WORK COMBATING CHILD EXPLOITATION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2011

Attorney General Eric Holder today honored several Florida and Hawaii law enforcement offices for their leadership protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation. The awards were presented at the 2011 National Strategy Conference on Combating Child Exploitation in San Jose, Calif.

Broward, Fla., Sheriff’s Office; Miami-Dade Police Department; Miami Beach Police Department; the Honolulu Division of the FBI; the Miami Division of the FBI; the U.S. Secret Service Miami office; and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida were honored for their “Outstanding Overall Partnership Coalition” work in combating domestic sex trafficking of minors in South Florida.

Attorney General Eric Holder has made one of the Department of Justice’s four key priorities the protection of those most vulnerable – children, the elderly, and victims of hate crimes, human trafficking and exploitation.

“Through their work in urban, rural and tribal communities – and through cutting-edge online efforts – these individuals are advancing bold, innovative and collaborative solutions to keep our children safe from all forms of exploitation and abuse,” said Attorney General Holder. “By focusing on prevention and intervention, as well as proven enforcement and prosecution strategies, these award recipients are strengthening our ability to protect children in need and at risk, and to bring offenders to justice.”

Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, commended the efforts of the prosecutors and law enforcement officers, stating “Investigating and prosecuting child exploitation cases is a difficult and resource-intensive endeavor. The team of prosecutors, agents, and officers honored today worked seamlessly together, sharing information and resources, across jurisdictional limits, to rescue minor victims and bring the sex traffickers to justice.”

Through close partnerships, shared resources and tireless work, this group’s efforts have resulted in the indictment of more than 16 cases, charging more than 25 defendants for domestic sex trafficking of minors. In 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Southern Florida had approximately five cases proceed to trial involving the sex trafficking of minors. Despite the many significant challenges faced by the prosecution teams, all defendants were found guilty.

Focused on protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation, the conference in San Jose is bringing together more than 1,000 investigators, agents and prosecutors from all levels of government to receive state-of-the-art instruction in investigative techniques, court room advocacy, digital forensics, behavioral profiling, victim advocacy and community outreach.

The conference is sponsored by the Department’s Project Safe Childhood Initiative and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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