U.S. Attorney Statement on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day
The President has designated January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut continues to prioritize human trafficking offenses, which are among the most heinous crimes the Office prosecutes. Federal prosecutors focus their resources on prosecuting the sex trafficking of minors, but also investigates cases involving the sex trafficking of particularly vulnerable adults and labor trafficking.
In November 2015, we announced the formation of the Connecticut Human Trafficking Task Force. The Task Force is composed of special agents from Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Department of Labor; investigators from the Connecticut State Police; officers from 16 police departments throughout the state; and representatives from State’s Attorneys’ Offices, and is led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarala V. Nagala, Deputy Chief of the Major Crimes and National Security Unit, and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Novick, Chief of the Financial Fraud and Public Corruption Unit.
In recent history, the Office has prosecuted 28 defendants for violations of the human trafficking laws, and in 2016, indicted or obtained guilty pleas from five defendants for sex trafficking. In 2016, in separate cases, Jordan Anate and Romane St. Christopher McKenzie were each sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for engaging in the sex trafficking of minors. In another case, Ramon Gomez pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a minor in a case where the 17-year-old minor died from an overdose of heroin that was supplied by Gomez.
Members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office routinely participate in trainings for law enforcement officers, hospital workers, school groups and community organizations regarding human trafficking. In January 2017 alone, prosecutors will take part in hotel worker training sponsored by the Connecticut Lodging Association, law enforcement training at the Connecticut Police Officer Standards and Training Academy, and hospital worker training at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford.
Today, as part of National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, I and other members of my Office wore blue in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign, to stand in solidarity with victims of human trafficking worldwide. The U.S. Attorney’s Office thanks our governmental and non-governmental victim services providers, including the Department of Children and Families and the International Institute of Connecticut, for the critical work they do to help individuals transition from victims to survivors.
Human traffickers, particularly those who prey on children, exploit the most vulnerable segments of our society. We will continue to devote significant federal resources to investigate and prosecute those who profit from the abuse and exploitation of our children.
Deirdre M. Daly
U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut
January 11, 2017