U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Ariana Fajardo Orshan and the Federal South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force hosted an event today to raise public awareness about the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888). The training reached full capacity with more than 150 attendees.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline connects victims and survivors of sex and labor trafficking with services and support. The National Hotline also receives tips about potential situations of sex and labor trafficking and facilitates reporting that information to the Federal South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force in certain cases. Through information received by the National Hotline, law enforcement authorities can connect investigations that span jurisdictions across the country.
The Federal South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force, led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, Miami-Dade Police Department, and International Rescue Committee, works to increase public awareness, identify victims, ensure that survivors receive assistance, and prosecute traffickers. The Task Force is composed of federal agencies including, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (specifically, its Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force), State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, and U.S. Department of Labor. Several other state and local law enforcement entities in South Florida are supportive task force members. Additionally, the Task Force collaborates with non-law enforcement entities, including the Florida Department of Children and Families, service providers, victim advocates, faith-based organizations, academic representatives and community members. Presently, the Task Force includes more than 300 non-law enforcement members.
“Partnerships and collaboration are vital to our fight against human trafficking,” stated U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan. “We cannot rescue victims, provide services to survivors, or successfully prosecute traffickers without our expanded partnerships and ongoing collaboration.”
Since being appointed as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida in 2018, Ariana Fajardo Orshan has continued to make human trafficking cases a priority for the Office. She currently serves on the Attorney General’s Advisory Subcommittee on Human Trafficking. Recently, she expanded the Special Prosecution’s Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The Section has helped to oversee the district’s Human Trafficking and Project Safe Childhood Programs (PSC), and the Office’s Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP) Program, while prosecuting cases involving victims of violent crimes (resulting in death or serious bodily injury), human trafficking, child exploitation, and other criminal offenses. As a native of Miami and concerned citizen, U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan is committed to raising public awareness and promoting community outreach – in order to help us all to combat human trafficking.
Since the beginning of 2019, the Task Force has participated in more than 100 human trafficking community outreach events. Audiences include grade school, university, and college students, teachers, professors, medical professionals, faith-based organizations, immigration and labor attorneys, federal, state, and local government employees, as well as hotel and motel employees. These efforts come in advance of Miami Super Bowl 54 in February. In preparation for the event, the Task Force will continue its efforts to expand partnerships, collaboration, training of state, local, and federal law enforcement officers and prosecutors, and community outreach.
For example, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida and the Task Force will be hosting a Human Trafficking Symposium at Nova Southeastern University on Tuesday, October 15, 2019. The program is free and will provide advanced human trafficking training and resources for victim service providers, law enforcement, prosecutors, medical professionals, and the local community. To register for the symposium visit https://nsuinfo.nova.edu/chcs/human-trafficking-symposium/.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida and the entire Task Force is fully committed to utilizing a victim-centered approach to rescuing victims and aggressively prosecuting traffickers. Since January of 2019, the International Rescue Committee has provided services to survivors in more than 30 cases of human trafficking. “We will continue to pursue and hold traffickers accountable for exploiting victims for labor or sexual services; modern-day slavery cannot be tolerated in our community,” stated Anthony Salisbury, Special Agent in Charge for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations. From 2013 through April 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida has prosecuted 69 offenders in 48 human trafficking cases, including labor and sex trafficking. These cases collectively involved the victimization of more than 75 survivors of human trafficking. This Fiscal Year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida has charged 9 human trafficking cases against 12 defendants in federal court, an increase from Fiscal Year 2018. Presently, 5 human trafficking cases are charged federally in Miami.
“We cannot do this work alone; we also rely on the members of our diverse community to continue to raise public awareness and report suspected trafficking,” stated U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan. “So please, spread the word about how to report human trafficking and help victims to come out of the shadows, where they can be seen and set free.”
To report suspected human trafficking or to obtain resources for victims, please call 1-888-373-7888; text “BeFree” (233733), or live chat at HumanTraffickingHotline.org. The toll-free phone, SMS text lines, and online chat function are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Help is available in English, Spanish, Creole, or in more than 200 additional languages. The National Hotline is not managed by law enforcement, immigration or an investigative agency. Correspondence with the National Hotline is confidential and you may request assistance or report a tip anonymously.
To learn more about the National Resource Hotline visit www.humantraffickinghotline.org. To learn more about the U.S. Department of Justice’s efforts to combat human trafficking visit www.justice.gov/humantrafficking.