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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 29, 2014

United States Attorney And California Attorney General Collaborate To Present First In A Series Of Labor Trafficking Trainings

FRESNO, Calif. — On Friday, October 24, 2014, a training aimed at combatting the serious crime of labor trafficking was held, organized by U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner in conjunction with California Attorney General Kamala Harris. The training in Fresno was the first in a series of trainings on labor trafficking planned to be held in Sacramento, Bakersfield, and other California cities.

U.S. Attorney Wagner stated: “Labor trafficking is often an invisible crime. Our goal is to train government workers, who may be at worksites for other purposes, to see the signs of forced labor and to report it. While federal and state laws exist to combat forced labor, they have no power if no one reports it.”

The training was attended by federal, state, and local workers who visit worksites as part of their duties, including employees from the U.S. Department of Labor, California’s Employment Development Department, Department of Industrial Relations, Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, and Fresno, Kern, and Madera Counties’ departments of Environmental Health, Public Health, and Child Protective Services.

Ronna Bright, program manager of Central Valley Against Human Trafficking introduced the topic of labor trafficking. Jamelia Hines presented her story of domestic servitude. Speakers from the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Department of Labor, and California’s Department of Industrial Relations presented key indicators of labor trafficking and Fresno Police Sergeant Curt Chastain told how to report the crime.

One of the speakers, Mike Prado, Resident Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Fresno stated: “Human trafficking, including forced labor trafficking, amounts to modern day slavery and represents one of the most deplorable crimes HSI investigates. Sadly, the egregious exploitation of workers by unscrupulous individuals and businesses occurs more frequently in the Central Valley than many people realize. Our hope is that by vigorously enforcing trafficking laws and raising public awareness, we can reduce the level of exploitation and bring those responsible to justice.”

If you or anyone you know is a victim of labor trafficking, you may call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at any time at 1 (888) 373-7888. You may also text “HELP” or “INFO” to 233733, or visit traffickingresourcecenter.org.

Updated April 8, 2015