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Human Trafficking Rescue Project

Human Trafficking Rescue Project

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri launched the Human Trafficking Rescue Project (HTRP) in 2006 to combat human trafficking.  The federal task force is comprised of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.  The task force has also partnered with non-government organizations to provide necessary services for victims of human trafficking.   HTRP has become one of the most successful human trafficking task forces in the country.  The investigation and prosecution of human trafficking, known as modern day slavery, has been and continues to be a top priority at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Missouri.

HTRP has investigated both commercial sex trafficking and forced labor violations.  While the prosecutions have resulted in array of charges, they are predominately prosecuted under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA).  The cases have involved the rescue of international and domestic victims. (View a list of significant cases.)

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Missouri continues to be a leader in the fight against human trafficking and has prosecuted more trafficking cases than any other District in the United States.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office was the first to utilize the TVPA to address the demand side of human trafficking by also prosecuting the customers of sex trafficking victims.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office also broke new ground by being the first to prosecute a parent for trafficking their own child; to charge the act of advertising trafficking victims online; and to utilize the TVPA to prosecute intra-state sex trafficking of children.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office was also the first to combine the TVPA with the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and to utilize the newly enacted fraud in foreign labor contracting statute to charge an international trafficking enterprise.

HTRP embodies the Justice Department’s victim-centered approach because it is specifically engineered to aid in identifying victims, providing them with immediate protection and support, and then working with them to further investigate and prosecute the traffickers.

The law enforcement arm of the task force consists of several primary investigatory agencies: Federal Bureau of Investigation; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; U.S. Department of Labor – Office of the Inspector General; U.S. Department of Labor – Division of Wage and Hour; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Cole County Prosecutor’s Office; Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department; Columbia Police Department; and the Independence, Missouri Police Department. 

The victim services arm of the task force is the Coalition Against Human Trafficking (CAHT).  CAHT consists of numerous non-government organizations which collaborate with HTRP to provide necessary services for the victims of trafficking. 

HTRP is led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Human Trafficking Coordinator, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Cynthia L. Cordes. 

If you have a tip regarding possible human trafficking, please call the hotline: 1-888-428-7581.

Recent Significant Cases

ELLISVILLE MAN SENTENCED FOR RACKETEERING ENTERPRISE THAT ENGAGED IN FORCED LABOR
(April 27, 2011)

KC MAN INDICTED FOR CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING, PRODUCING CHILD PORN, EXTORTION
(April 21, 2011)

LEBANON WOMAN INDICTED, MORE CHARGES FILED IN SEX TRAFFICKING SCHEME, MURDER-FOR-HIRE;
VICTIM TORTURED AS SLAVE, FORCED INTO SEX TRAFFICKING AND FORCED LABOR

(March 30, 2011)

COLUMBIA MAN, KC WOMAN INDICTED FOR COERCED SEX TRAFFICKING OF ADULT, MINOR VICTIMS
(March 7, 2011)

SPRINGFIELD MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO SEX-TRAFFICKING CONSPIRACY, ADMITS TORTURING WOMAN COERCED AS SEX SLAVE
(Feb. 24, 2011)

NORTHLAND MAN SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS FOR ATTEMPTED SEX TRAFFICKING OF A CHILD
(Jan. 6, 2011)

KC MAN SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS IN PRISON FOR TRAFFICKING WOMEN INTO FORCED PROSTITUTION
(Nov. 19, 2010)

JURY CONVICTS ELLISVILLE MAN IN RACKETEERING ENTERPRISE THAT ENGAGED IN FORCED LABOR
(Oct. 27, 2010)

CHILLICOTHE MAN SENTENCED TO 21 YEARS IN PRISON FOR SELLING CHILDREN FOR PROSTITUTION
(Oct. 7, 2010)

WOMAN TORTURED AS SLAVE, VICTIM OF SEX TRAFFICKING AND FORCED LABOR TRAFFICKER;
FOUR CUSTOMERS INDICTED FOR SEX TRAFFICKING CONSPIRACY

(Sept. 9, 2010)

EIGHT UZBEKISTAN NATIONALS AMONG 12 CHARGED WITH RACKETEERING, HUMAN TRAFFICKING, IMMIGRATION VIOLATIONS;
$6 MILLION SCHEME TO EMPLOY ILLEGAL ALIENS AT HOTELS, OTHER SITES IN 14 STATES
(May 27, 2009)

NAVAL RECRUITER AMONG FOUR MEN INDICTED FOR SEX TRAFFICKING OF A CHILD
UNDERCOVER STING LEADS TO FIRST-EVER HUMAN TRAFFICKING CHARGES FOR ATTEMPTING TO PAY FOR SEX WITH CHILDREN
(March 10, 2009)

CHILLICOTHE MAN INDICTED FOR SEX TRAFFICKING CHILDREN (Feb. 5, 2009)

THREE KANSAS MEN INDICTED FOR SEX TRAFFICKING OF A CHILD;
CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTING TO PAY FOR SEX WITH CHILDREN
(Feb. 4, 2009)

KC MAN INDICTED FOR FORCED SEX TRAFFICKING, CHILD PORNOGRAPHY (Oct. 30, 2008)

FORMER BLUE SPRINGS MAN, WOMAN INDICTED FOR SEX TRAFFICKING OF A CHILD;
CHILD SOLD AS SEXUAL DOMINATRIX FOR BOTH ONLINE, IN-PERSON SESSIONS
(May 12, 2008)

MORE CHARGES AGAINST OWNERS/OPERATORS OF ASIAN MASSAGE PARLORS;
TWO MORE OWNERS INDICTED FOR TRANSPORTING PERSONS FOR PROSTITUTION
(March 14, 2008)

OWNERS/OPERATORS OF ASIAN MASSAGE PARLORS INDICTED FOR TRANSPORTING PERSONS FOR PROSTITUTION (March 11, 2008)