Federal and Local Agencies Team Up to Combat Human Trafficking in the District of Columbia
Joint Chairing of the D.C. Human Trafficking Task Force Formalized
WASHINGTON – U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie K. Liu and D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine announced today that the D.C. Human Trafficking Task Force now will be jointly chaired by representatives of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia. The move recognizes the important work of both agencies toward eradicating human trafficking in the District and the complementary skills of the federal and local agencies. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office aggressively investigates and prosecutes human traffickers. As the Chair of the D.C. Human Trafficking Task Force for the last 15 years, our Office has worked tirelessly to improve the public health and safety of some of the most vulnerable members of our community: sex trafficking survivors. Our prosecutors and advocates have shown unparalleled dedication to this important issue, which deserves our continued and expanded efforts. The joint leadership of the Task Force will enable us to tackle the challenges ahead with even greater vigor. We are pleased to have yet another opportunity for partnership with the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia,” said U.S. Attorney Liu.
Since its formation in 2004, the D.C. Human Trafficking Task Force has been chaired by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia with the goal of increasing the prosecution of traffickers while identifying and serving the victims-survivors of this horrific crime. The four main goals of the Task Force are:
- To facilitate a more coordinated anti-trafficking effort in the D.C. area through protocol development, extensive community outreach, proactive investigations, law enforcement training, intelligence sharing, and more formalized partnerships between law enforcement organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
- To identify citizen, resident, and transnational victims of both sex and labor trafficking.
- To provide comprehensive services to trafficking victims.
- To increase the prosecution of traffickers.
Since its creation, the Task Force has served as a forum for disparate organizations—local and federal government agencies, NGOs, and local and federal law enforcement—to come together around one table for information sharing, internal and external training, and relationship building. The Task Force consists of a large number of law enforcement, NGOs, and government agencies, as well as component subcommittees. The current subcommittees are: Direct Services, Labor, Training and Outreach, Law Enforcement, and a Policy Working Group.
Through the information-sharing work of the Task Force and the efforts of a reconfigured Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Taskforce (CEHTTF) at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Office has seen a significant increase in prosecutions of juvenile sex trafficking cases, as well as an increase in the number of child exploitation cases brought in federal court.
In recent years, the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia has also expanded its anti-human trafficking efforts, recognizing that children that are at risk for trafficking and those who are victims-survivors of trafficking present unique challenges that require trauma-informed staff and court personnel. One such initiative was its successful launch, along with the D.C. Superior Court, of Hope Court, a diversion program for youth that appear at risk of trafficking or who represent confirmed cases of trafficking.
For more information, please contact External Affairs Specialist Melanie Howard at 202-252-6930.