Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is honoring National Human Trafficking Awareness Month as a means of drawing attention to the international crime and the work of law enforcement to deter human trafficking, bring traffickers to justice, and aid victims.
“ICE is committed to leveraging every resource it has at its disposal to confront the threat of human trafficking, to support the victims and survivors, and to hold traffickers accountable for their monstrous crimes,” DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking (CCHT) Acting Director Angie Salazar said. “Though this fight continues year-round, the month of January gives us the opportunity to showcase these efforts and highlight our contribution to this global movement to disrupt and dismantle sex trafficking, forced labor organizations, and profiteers.”
Human trafficking centers on exploitation and is considered a form of modern slavery. The crime generally takes two forms – sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Sex trafficking occurs when a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age. Labor trafficking includes the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
In fiscal year 2020, agency personnel arrested 1,746 individuals connected with human trafficking and identified and assisted more than 400 victims.
The top five locations for human trafficking criminal arrests by HSI were Atlanta, Ga.; Dallas, Texas; Los Angeles, Calif.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Tampa, Fla.