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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 16, 2019

U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan, Nova Southeastern University’s CREATE Program and Federal Task Force Host Human Trafficking Symposium

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Ariana Fajardo Orshan, Nova Southeastern University’s Coalition for Research and Education Against Trafficking and Exploitation (CREATE) and the Federal South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force hosted a symposium yesterday to raise public awareness about human trafficking.  The free program provided advanced human trafficking training and resources to more than 380 individuals, including victim service providers, law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, medical professionals, and members of the local community.

“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.” 

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 FBI (specifically, its Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force), U.S. Department of State’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.  In addition, many of our northern partners support the West Palm Beach Human Trafficking Task Force, while the South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force, which covers Miami-Dad and Broward counties, has more than 400 members.  

CREATE’s mission is to equip all members of the community – including private citizens, educators, current and future health care professionals and members of organizations – with the skills to identify victims of human trafficking, in order to increase reporting and referrals to appropriate health and social services.

Since being appointed as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida in 2018, Ariana Fajardo Orshan has remained committed to expanding our partnerships to combat human trafficking, educating the public, and ensuring that the prosecution of human trafficking cases is 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.

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.  From Fiscal Year 2013 through Fiscal Year 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida prosecuted 72 offenders in 51 human trafficking cases, including labor and sex trafficking. These cases collectively involved the victimization of more than 80 survivors of human trafficking.  For Fiscal Year 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida charged 12 human trafficking cases against 15 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. “Sadly, despite the hard work of so many people in our community we continue to see human traffickers exploit children, adults, males, females, LGBTQ persons, drug addicts, foreign nationals and U.S. citizens.  We encourage everyone 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 CREATE visit www.nova.edu/create.  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.

To learn more about the nationwide Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative and local Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP) visit https://www.justice.gov/psn,  https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdfl/violence-reduction-partnerships.

Updated October 16, 2019