Human trafficking is a nationwide public health and civil rights crisis. Its victims are everywhere: at truck stops, in cities, in rural areas, and in suburbs, and who now total an unconscionable 25 million victims globally according to some estimates. That means 25 million human beings—parents, siblings, and children—have been coerced into a commercial sex act, forced into labor, or exploited because they desperately seek a better life. It is a priority of the Department of Justice to combat this depraved and predatory behavior through swift and aggressive enforcement of our nation’s laws to bring traffickers to justice and restore the lives of victims and survivors.
United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions, January 31, 2018
Human trafficking encompasses a wide variety of criminal conduct involving the exploitation of minor and adult victims who are compelled to engage in sex and labor. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California (“USAO”) works closely with federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities to investigate and prosecute both sex and labor trafficking cases. The USAO takes a victim-centered approach to human trafficking, partnering with non-governmental organizations (“NGOs”) to ensure that trafficking victims receive the trauma recovery and outreach services they need, while prosecuting pimps and labor traffickers to the fullest extent authorized by Congress. Below is information related to: Sex Trafficking, Labor Trafficking, Resources for Victims, and Resources for Researchers
The USAO prosecutes all forms of sex trafficking, whether the victims are minors or adults who have been forced, defrauded, or coerced into engaging in non-consensual sex acts. Sex trafficking victims are routinely beaten, assaulted, raped, and psychologically and emotionally abused by those who work hard to ensure that a culture of fear coerces their victims into compliance. Recent changes to federal law make it easier for the USAO to prosecute the “Johns” who purchase sex from traffickers; sex offender registration status applies to convicted pimps and convicted customers. The USAO uses every tool at its disposal to find and prosecute sex traffickers in the Central District.
Labor trafficking involves the recruitment, harboring, or transportation of a person for labor services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. It is modern day slavery. Labor trafficking arises in many situations, including domestic servitude, restaurant work, janitorial work, factory work, migrant agricultural work, and construction. It is often marked by unsanitary and overcrowded living and working conditions, nominal or no pay for work that is done, debt bondage, and document servitude. It occurs in homes and workplaces, and is often perpetrated by traffickers who are the same cultural origin and ethnicity as the victims, which allows the traffickers to use class hierarchy and cultural power to ensure the compliance of their victims. Labor traffickers often tell their victims that they will not be believed if they go to the authorities, that they will be deported from the United States, and that they have nowhere to run. Traffickers teach their victims to trust no one but the traffickers, so victims are often suspicious of genuine offers to help; they often expect that they will have to give something in return. The USAO works with its law enforcement partners to ferret out and prosecute labor trafficking wherever it occurs in the Central District.
RESOURCES FOR VICTIMS
If you are a victim of sex or labor trafficking, or you suspect that you know someone who is, please call law enforcement and any of the following free, anonymous hotlines:
FBI: (310) 996-6565
Local Law Enforcement or emergencies: call 9-1-1
Los Angeles Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST): Hotline (888) 539-2373
Los Angeles Metro Task Force - Human Trafficking Unit: (800) 655-4095
National Human Trafficking Hotline: (888) 373-7888
LA Crime Stoppers: 800-222-TIPS (8477) - texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or website http://lacrimestoppers.org
RESOURCES FOR RESEARCHERS
Data and Research Regarding Human Trafficking
The Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is a leader in funding research regarding 1) the nature and extent of human trafficking; 2) detecting and investigating traffickers; 3) prosecuting traffickers; and 4) services for trafficking victims. For additional information, please use the following links:
Attorney General’s Report – Domestic Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking
The Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Policy is responsible for drafting the Attorney General’s annual report outlining domestic efforts to identify and combat human trafficking. This report includes data from inside the Department of Justice and agencies outside DOJ, including DHS and HHS. For additional information, please use the following link:
State Department Report – International Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking
The United States Department of State issues an annual report describing international efforts to combat human trafficking. For additional information, please use the following link:
DOJ’s Office for Victims of Crime
The Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) has a website addressing human trafficking that includes the human trafficking task force e-guide and the Federal Strategic Action Plan on Service for Victims of Human Trafficking. The Strategic Action Plan sets forth specific action items the agencies will accomplish over a five-year period (2013-2017). The plan addresses how the government will work with state, local, faith-based, and community partners to improve our ability to identify victims and provide comprehensive and effective services. For additional information, please use the following link:
Blue Campaign (DHS)
The United States Department of Homeland Security offers a number of websites that provides information on human trafficking. For additional information, please use the following links: